How is Your Workers Compensation Settlement in North Carolina Determined?

When someone sues a third party for damages, the settlement process is straightforward. When you file a worker’s compensation claim, it works a lot differently. In fact, most lawyers in North Carolina who don’t practice workers’ compensation have a hard time understanding how these cases work.

The good news is that your Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer not only understands the law, but they are also very adept at settlement negotiations as well. When you settle your workers’ comp claim, there are no damages for pain and suffering. In fact, there is no damage available. Your North Carolina workers comp attorney will negotiate a settlement based on the number of weeks of benefits you’re entitled to.

Here, we will explain how this process works. We will also give you an idea of how much certain body parts are worth. If you still have questions, feel free to contact our office directly. We do offer new clients a free, initial consultation. This way, you can meet with a seasoned Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer who can review your case and let you know how best to proceed.

Settling Your Workers Comp Claim is Not the Same as Settling Your Personal Injury Lawsuit

When your workers’ compensation claim is approved, you will start to receive weekly benefits. These benefits will be equal to 2/3 of your average weekly wages. This means that people who make $500 per week will receive $333 per week. These benefits will continue until your workers’ compensation doctor determines that you’ve met maximum medical improvement.

When this happens, your doctor will indicate what they believe your disability ratings are. These are based on the body parts that you injured during your workplace accident. The rates for each body part are published by the North Carolina Industrial Commission in the workers’ compensation payment schedule.

Imagine that you fall at work and hurt your back. After four months of physical therapy, your doctor declares that you’ve achieved maximum medical improvement. They also report that your back is 30% disabled. Your North Carolina workers comp attorney disagrees. They believe that your back is 80% disabled. They negotiate back and forth and finally agree on a disability rating of 60%.

Your Settlement Amount Will Depend on the Body Part That You Injured

Now it’s time to look at how your final settlement amount will be determined. Using the same example used above, we will imagine that you are deemed 60% disabled. The body part causing your disability is your back. The North Carolina Industrial Commission has determined that someone with a 100% back disability is entitled to 300 weeks’ worth of benefits.

Since your Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer has agreed that you are only 60% disabled, you will be entitled to 60% of 300 weeks’ worth of benefits. This comes out to be 180 weeks. Your attorney will then multiply 180 by the amount of money you have been receiving every week in workers comp benefits. Whatever this amount comes out to be, that will be your workers’ compensation settlement.

workers comp covers all medical costs and part of the lost wages

You Will Not Receive Compensation for Pain and Suffering

It’s important to remember that, in a workers’ compensation case, you aren’t entitled to traditional damages. When you sue someone under personal injury, your lawyer will demand some or all of the following:

  • Property damage
  • Lost wages
  • Lost future income
  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering.

You aren’t entitled to these things in workers’ compensation. However, that doesn’t mean your Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer can’t negotiate any additional payment. You may be entitled to reimbursement or compensation for the following:

  • Mileage for travel to and from your doctor’s appointments
  • Reimbursement for any out-of-pocket medical bills you experienced
  • Future medical bills
  • Lost future income if you are no longer able to do the same kind of work you did prior to your workplace accident

Just know that there is never a guarantee that you’ll receive compensation for any of these things. It all depends on the facts surrounding your case. It also depends on what your North Carolina comp attorney can prove.

Your North Carolina Workers Comp Attorney May Be Able to Demand Benefits for Mental Anxiety

In some cases, our North Carolina workers comp attorneys are able to demand additional benefits for our clients. If your lawyer can prove that you suffered severe mental anxiety as a result of your injuries, you may be entitled to an additional week’s worth of benefits.

Things like PTSD and emotional duress fall under a psychological disability. If your anxiety is extreme, your Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer may be able to negotiate an additional 20% disability. This may earn you another 20 or 30 weeks’ worth of benefits.

Trust That Your North Carolina Workers Comp Attorney Will Get You the Benefits You Deserve

If you’re injured on the job, you should be entitled to workers’ comp benefits. It all depends on whether you meet the criteria outlined by the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Once your claim is approved, your workers’ compensation doctor will monitor your progress and recovery.

At some point, the doctor will determine that you’ve achieved maximum medical improvement. This means that there is no purpose in administering further treatment. It is around this time that the doctor will make their disability ratings. If your North Carolina workers comp attorney doesn’t agree with the final ratings, they will get a second opinion. Your workers’ comp settlement will fall somewhere in between these two numbers.

The reason you hire a Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer is so that they can handle the legal side of things. This frees you to focus on recovering from your injuries. You need to trust that your lawyer will fight to get you the benefits you deserve. They will also work hard to negotiate a settlement of your claim.

We suggest that you call our office so we can schedule your free, initial consultation. This gives you a chance to sit down with one of our North Carolina workers comp attorneys and find out if your claim is valid.

If you believe that you’re now permanently disabled as a result of your work-related injuries, let your lawyer know. They will do their best to get you a fair settlement so you can continue to live the kind of life to which you’ve become accustomed.