Most of the cases our Charlotte workers comp attorneys handle involve rather serious injuries. Many of our clients require extensive medical care and are out of work for months at a time. However, if your injuries are minor, that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve workers compensation benefits.
Who Is Eligible for Workers Compensation in North Carolina?
Technically, anybody who gets hurt on the job can receive workers compensation benefits. However, if you’re only out of work for a few days, you will only be entitled to medical coverage.
You need to be out of work at least seven (7) calendar days before you qualify for benefits. This means that, if you got hurt on Monday, you would have to be out of work until the following Wednesday for it to count. This is because the day of the injury counts as a day of work.
Certain Categories of Workers Are Not Eligible for Benefits
There are certain categories of workers who aren’t entitled to workers’ compensation in North Carolina. These employees either have another program they can apply to for benefits or aren’t entitled to them at all.
These workers include:
- Domestic workers employed by a household
- Federal employees
- Railroad workers
- Agricultural workers (less than 10 full-time, non-seasonal employees)
If you fall into one of these groups, your Charlotte workers comp attorney won’t be able to help you get benefits. However, most other employees are entitled to benefits as long as they meet the basic criteria.
Your Charlotte Workers Comp Attorney Has to Prove You Meet the Criteria for Workers Compensation
To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you must meet certain requirements. These are the same regardless of how serious your workplace injuries may be.
These criteria include, but are not limited to the following:
- You must be acting within the scope of your employment at the time of your accident.
- You cannot be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- You must agree to be treated by a state-approved workers compensation doctor.
- You must report your injury to your employer right away.
Of course, there are other requirements. It all depends on the nature of your workplace accident.
If Your Claim Is Approved, Your Medical Care Will Be Covered
As long as your workers’ compensation claim is approved, your medical care will be covered. If something happens and you’re forced to pay for treatment, let your workers comp lawyer in Charlotte know right away.
There are times when a worker has to pay for their medical care out of pocket. Then, your Charlotte workers comp attorney can demand reimbursement from the insurance company.
We typically see this when your injuries are life-threatening, and you cannot wait for your employer to submit claim information.
Only Medical Treatment That is Related to Your Workplace Accident is Covered
It’s important to remember that only medical care that is related to your workplace accident is covered. For example, imagine that you hurt your wrist at work. The doctor notices that you have an old shoulder injury as well.
The insurance company isn’t going to pay to repair your old shoulder injury. You would have to rely on your own private insurance to cover this treatment.
You Will Not Qualify for Weekly Replacement Wages
If you miss less than eight days from work, you will not qualify for weekly benefits. These are reserved for people whose injuries are serious enough to keep them out of work for a much longer period.
Some clients ask us if it makes sense to exaggerate their injuries so they can qualify for weekly benefits. Your workers comp lawyer in Charlotte can never condone that sort of behavior.
If you truly do end up missing eight days or more, then you would likely receive benefits. Just keep in mind that you will only receive benefits until you return to work.
You May Have Used Sick or Personal Time to Cover These Days
Most employees are encouraged to use any available PTO time to cover these first seven days. If you have time left, it’s a good idea for you to do the same thing. You will only be paid for the first seven days you miss if you are out of work for longer than three weeks.
If your injuries are minor, you can bet the workers comp doctor will determine that you’re ready to go back to work long before three weeks have passed.
You Would Need to Miss 21 Days to Get Paid for the First Seven-Day Period
In order to be paid for the first seven days of your claim, you need to miss 21 days or more. Once you reach the twenty-first day, you will be entitled to retroactive payment for the first seven-day period.
If you don’t receive this money, let your Charlotte workers comp attorney know. They will reach out to the insurance carrier and find out what is happening. It shouldn’t take long for them to get this payment to you.
It’s Still a Good Idea to Sit Down With an Experienced Charlotte Workers Comp Attorney
Even if you don’t think you’re going to miss all that much time from work, you can still use help. Our Charlotte workers comp attorneys have been helping injured workers for decades. Our goal is to make sure that your claim is handled properly from the start.
Just because you aren’t expected to miss more than a week from work, you may still be entitled to benefits. Your medical care will need to be covered. If the insurance doesn’t cover your medical care, it could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Depending on how many days you miss from work, you may even be entitled to weekly benefits.
We suggest you contact our office today so we can schedule your free, initial consultation. Take the time to sit down with a seasoned worker’s comp lawyer in Charlotte. They can answer any questions you may have and ensure that you receive the benefits you deserve.