3 Workers' Comp Myths: True or False?
At Ricci Law Firm, P.A., our Greenville workers’ compensation attorneys regularly hear from clients who are concerned about aspects of their claim. Are those concerns valid? Let’s tackle some common myths:
#1: I don’t get workers’ comp if the accident was my fault: FALSE
Sadly, many injured workers do not pursue a workers’ compensation claim because they feel they were partially to blame. Maybe they were doing work they weren’t trained to do. Maybe they were taking drugs or medications. Maybe they broke a safety rule. Maybe they didn’t bother to ask a co-worker for help. Maybe their boss had warned them against doing this type of work.
No problem – generally, the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation system is “no fault,” meaning the claimant can recover benefits even if the employer did nothing wrong, and even if the worker did something wrong. In fact, even if the employee was 100% at fault, the accident may be covered. An experienced attorney can help you sort out whether you have a strong claim, even if the accident was your fault.
#2: I only get workers’ comp if I was doing my normal job in the normal way: FALSE
In many cases, the exact opposite is true in North Carolina. The Workers’ Compensation Act is extremely broad, covering occupational diseases, specific traumatic incidents, and injuries by accident. The legal distinctions are complex. Specific traumatic incidents usually occur when the employee is doing their normal job and feels the onset of pain in the back. These events often involve aggravation of a prior condition, and most of these claims are covered. But don’t let that fool you! An injury by accident (also covered) usually involves an unexpected event, such as something unusual or out of the ordinary. For example, an employee covers for an absent co-worker and gets hurt; a worker slips and falls on a puddle; an object falls on an employee; a worker lifts a package that was much heavier than usual; a worker runs an unusual errand for the boss.
Before deciding for yourself that your injury is not covered, and before talking to an insurance adjuster or giving a recorded statement, make sure to consult a workers’ compensation attorney to guide you through this complicated legal world.
#3: My employer will file all my forms for me: FALSE
If you want to collect workers’ compensation benefits, you should file a Form 18 and protect your initial rights, but that’s not all! You must stay diligent to make sure you receive the proper medical treatment and disability benefits. The employer and insurer are not on your side. It is true that sometimes your employer or human resources will guide you through the process and help you along – kudos to those employers! But some employers promise to “take care” of things and drop the ball. If you are injured on the job, or you contract a disease at the workplace, it is your responsibility to pursue your claim. Our workers’ compensation attorneys at Ricci Law Firm, P.A. will make sure you meet all the deadlines to preserve your legal rights.
Contact our team of Greenville workers’ compensation lawyers today to schedule a free consultation: (252) 285-4081.