If you are injured on the job in North Carolina and your injury or disease causes a temporary or permanent disability, you are entitled to receive weekly disability benefit checks. As part of those legal rights, you are also entitled to a weekly check that is calculated correctly. Yes, we said “correctly.”
Unfortunately, many workers’ compensation insurance adjusters crunch numbers with a light hand when it comes to figuring out the amount of that check. And worse, many injured workers cash those insufficient checks without batting an eyelash – and without consulting an attorney. Workers sometimes assume the insurance adjuster is an expert. Hold on there.
Why do you need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney when you are already receiving weekly benefits? Because the Workers’ Compensation Act, meant to help injured workers, provides not one but four different ways to calculate the amount of an injured worker’s disability benefits. Each of those four methods often yields extremely different amounts. Guess which method of calculation the insurance adjuster will probably use?
It Happens: Wrong Calculation of Wages
When it comes to figuring out the amount of your disability check, a workers’ compensation attorney can make all the difference. Check out this true story: When Elizabeth Ball was injured on the job as a Certified Nursing Assistant, she began receiving weekly benefits of only $189.87. Barely enough to live, right? Before her injury, her wages had varied between $8.00 per hour and $10.00 per hour, and she alternated between part-time and full-time work. But Ms. Ball was no sucker; rather than blindly accepting and cashing those meager checks, she hired a workers’ compensation specialist attorney.
When her attorney challenged the insurer’s wage calculation and provided evidence of what Ms. Ball would have been earning if she had not been injured, the Industrial Commission held that the correct rate was $340.24 per week – a difference of $150.00 per week! And when the insurer appealed the ruling, the North Carolina Court of Appeals, on March 26, 2019, agreed that the higher rate was correct.
The lesson here? Although insurance companies sometimes try to convince injured workers there is only one correct way to calculate the amount of a disability check, the law in this area is complex. Attorneys, especially board-certified workers’ compensation specialists, can help you advocate for the use of one method over another in order to maximize your recovery during that difficult healing period.
We at Ricci Law Firm understand what a difference a bigger check can make for you and your family when you cannot work due to a disability. If you are receiving weekly workers’ compensation checks from an insurer or third-party administrator, Ricci Law Firm can help you determine if the amount of your check is correct. Before taking the insurance adjuster’s word for it, contact one of our certified workers’ compensation specialists to discuss your situation.
Workers’ Compensation Lawyer serving Greenville and Raleigh
I’m Brian Ricci, a workers’ compensation lawyer serving Greenville and Raleigh. If you or a loved one has sustained an injury at work, please call me at (252) 777-2222 or 800-387-6406 for free, friendly advice.
I am a longtime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Founder of the leading personal injury website: http://www.riccilawnc.com/personal-injury/