It is not often that we represent somebody under the age of 18 in a workers’ compensation benefits case. However, young people are working more today than ever before and the odds of them getting hurt are greater. Our Charlotte workers’ comp attorneys work hard to make sure all of our clients get the benefits they are entitled to.
The Workers’ Compensation System Was Implemented to Benefit Workers and Employers
In the first half of the 20th century, North Carolina, along with most other states, implemented a workers’ compensation system. The system was meant to protect both workers and the companies they work for.
The workers’ compensation laws do not say that you have to be a certain age to receive workers comp benefits. If you are legally able to work, then there is no reason why you should be excluded from the same protection afforded to other workers.
Workers’ Compensation Protects Workers Who Are Injured on the Job
Before there was a workers’ compensation system in place, when people got injured on the job they had one of two choices. They could continue to work so that they did not lose their job. Or they could sue their employer in the hopes of getting damages for their injuries.
As one can imagine, this did not work out well for either workers or their employers. It became abundantly clear during the Great Depression that neither workers nor their employers could afford to go without the protection afforded by these new laws.
Employers Are Also Protected from Having to Defend a Lawsuit Every Time Somebody is Hurt
One of the other reasons that workers’ compensation was a blessing is that it protected employers from having to defend dozens of lawsuits every year. Today, it seems like most companies have an entire team of lawyers at their beck and call.
A hundred years ago, this was not the case. Large corporations did have defense teams. However, small and medium-sized enterprises didn’t have the resources to defend against lawsuits from employees.
For the Most Part, All Workers Are Covered by Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina
One thing our Charlotte workers comp attorneys like to tell our clients is that almost all workers are protected by workers comp. However, as with most other laws, there are exceptions to the rule.
If you happen to fall into certain categories of workers, such as railroad workers, you are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
There Are Certain Categories of Workers That Are Not Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
In addition to railroad workers, there are other categories of workers who are not protected by workers’ compensation in North Carolina. These include:
- Federal employees
- Domestic workers employed directly by a household
- Agricultural workers (less than 10 full-time, non-seasonal workers)
- Causal workers
As long as you do not fall into any of these categories, you should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. It shouldn’t matter how old you are. If you suffer an injury while on the job, there is a good chance you’re entitled to benefits.
Your Charlotte Workers’ Comp Attorney Will Let You Know if You Qualify for Benefits
We always recommend that anyone hurt on the job talks to a worker’s comp lawyer in Charlotte. Ideally, your employer would always have your best interests at heart. However, many workers who were injured at work find out that their employer is more concerned with the bottom line.
This is why it’s a good idea to sit down with a Charlotte workers comp attorney and find out if you are even entitled to benefits. Your lawyer can look at your claim and look at the information from the insurance company and give you an idea of where you stand.
The Workers’ Compensation Laws in North Carolina Do Not Discriminate Based on Age
It’s important to know that the laws in North Carolina having to do with workers’ compensation do not discriminate. It doesn’t matter what age, gender, race, or ethnicity you are, you are entitled to the same benefits as everybody else.
If your employer has given you the impression that you’re not entitled to this protection, make sure you let your workers comp lawyer in Charlotte know immediately.
If You Are Legally Employed, You Should Be Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
There may be a question as to whether you are legally employed. Regardless of where you live, there are always situations where a family friend or small business hires somebody underage.
If you are not legally on the company’s payroll, you may run into problems. If this is the case, you need to make sure your Charlotte workers comp attorney knows. They will fight to get you the benefits you deserve.
If You Are Unsure of How to Proceed, Our Workers’ Comp Lawyers in Charlotte Can Help
Most of the clients that our Charlotte workers comp attorneys meet with are well over the age of 18. They are just as overwhelmed and frustrated as you are.
Do not think for a minute that you don’t deserve to speak with the Charlotte workers comp attorney. They can review your claim and give you an idea as to whether it’s worth pursuing.
Your Attorney Will Help You File Your Initial Claim
Since your employer will more than likely not be willing to help you file your claim, that is something that your workers’ comp lawyer in Charlotte can help you with.
If your claim happens to be denied, your attorney will also help you file an appeal. The important thing to remember is that you’re not alone in this.
Just Remember Your Benefits Will Be Based on Your Average Weekly Wages
It is important to point out that the fact that you’re underage may impact how much you receive in weekly benefits. Most people under the age of 18 do not work full-time.
Whether it is school or some other obligations they have during the day, underage employees tend to work an average of 20 to 25 hours per week.
What this means is that your average weekly wages will be much lower than your coworkers. Keep in mind that this means that the weekly benefits you receive from workers’ compensation will be lower as well.
Call and Speak With One of Our Workers’ Comp Lawyers in Charlotte
If you are injured on the job and are not sure what to do next, contact our office. You can meet with one of our workers’ comp lawyers in Charlotte to find out what your next step is. Whether you are 17 or 47, you are entitled to the same protection under workers’ compensation.
We offer all new clients a free, initial consultation. Take advantage of this opportunity to sit down with an experienced attorney and find out how best to proceed.