Years ago, people worked until they were in their early sixties and then retired. At the time, not many women worked. Men were the ones who brought home the bacon. When their children were raised, they did not see the need to continue working. Today, things have changed.
Today, the average retirement age is still 62. But that doesn’t mean people legally have to retire at that time. In fact, many adults, both men and women, work long after they reach the age of 65. This means that there are more older adults filing for workers compensation benefits in North Carolina. Our Charlotte workers comp attorneys have represented hundreds of older workers.
One of the reasons we represent so many older workers is that workers comp insurance companies tend to deny claims filed by this group. They argue that once a person reaches their early sixties, they are expected to retire. They don’t want to agree to pay workers compensation benefits in North Carolina to people who, in their opinion, shouldn’t be working in the first place.
Here, we will explain how workers compensation works for older employees. We will also confirm the fact that all workers are entitled to protection under the North Carolina workers compensation system.
If You Are Still Working, You Are Entitled to Protection Under the Workers Compensation System
North Carolina, like every other state, has a workers compensation system in place. The purpose of this system is to protect workers who get hurt on the job. It also prevents people from filing a personal injury lawsuit against their employer every time they suffer a work-related injury.
It wouldn’t be fair or equitable to allow employers and their insurance carriers to deny claims based on things like age, gender, or ethnicity.
The North Carolina Industrial Commission doesn’t allow employers or insurance carriers to discriminate against people on the basis of age. It doesn’t matter how old you are. If you get hurt at work, then you should file for workers compensation benefits in North Carolina.
If you’re worried that your claim may be denied, then you should speak with a Charlotte workers comp attorney before you do anything. Once your claim is denied, you’ll have to file an appeal. Unfortunately, whenever you’re dealing with an appeal, the original decision will carry significant weight.
Your Employer or Their Insurance Company May Deny Benefits Due to Your Age
When you first file your workers’ compensation claim, your employer will send it off to their insurance company. They will send a recommendation as well. If they don’t believe you deserve workers compensation benefits in North Carolina, they will communicate that to the insurance adjuster.
The insurance adjuster will then do their own investigation of your claim. If they see anything out of line, they will deny your claim. You will then be given the chance to file an appeal.
The problem with filing an appeal is that the same people who made the first decision will be making the second one. This is why it’s important that your Charlotte workers comp attorney let the insurance adjuster know that they are representing you. Once they find out that you hired a lawyer, they will be less likely to deny your claim.
This is especially true if they intend to deny it based on your age. Of course, they will come up with a legitimate reason for why they’re denying it. They won’t come right out and say they’re doing it because you’re older than 65.
Your Charlotte workers comp attorney will let them know upfront and candidly that they suspect this was their plan. To avoid being accused of being discriminatory, they may just approve your claim. This means you’ll receive the workers compensation benefits in North Carolina that you deserve.
It May Be Difficult to Receive Long-Term Workers Compensation Benefits in North Carolina
One problem you may run into has to do with long-term benefits. At some point, your workers’ compensation doctor is going to determine that you’ve achieved maximum medical improvement. This means that there is no reason to continue treatment.
Any benefit you would’ve gained from further medical treatment has already been met. When this happens, your Charlotte workers comp attorney is going to have you meet with an independent doctor to examine you. They will issue their findings as to whether you’ve suffered a permanent disability.
If they deem that you have, your lawyer will demand permanent workers compensation benefits. If you are over the age of 65, the insurance company will likely argue that you aren’t entitled to these benefits. They will claim that you weren’t expected to work beyond 65 and, therefore, should not be entitled to further compensation.
Your Charlotte workers comp attorney will challenge them and demand that you be fairly compensated.
Let Your Charlotte Workers Comp Attorney Handle Your Claim While You Focus on Your Recovery
Regardless of your age, if you get injured at work, you need to file for workers compensation benefits in North Carolina. As long as your Charlotte workers comp attorney can prove that your injuries were work-related, your claim should be approved. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. The insurance companies do their best to avoid paying claims.
It isn’t personal. It’s simply a matter of their bottom line. If they feel there is a quasi-legitimate reason to deny your benefits, they will. If this is what happened to you, then you should call our office as soon as possible. In fact, we often recommend that you call one of our Charlotte workers comp attorneys as soon as you’re hurt. This way, you know your claim will be handled properly from the start.
We do offer new clients a free, initial consultation. We do this for several reasons. First, we understand that many people aren’t sure at first if they want to retain a lawyer. They usually want to find out what their options are before they make a final decision.
Second, our Charlotte workers comp attorneys need to review a case before they agree to represent a potential client. Since the consultation is free, it doesn’t hurt you to take advantage of it.