Law Office of John A. Hedrick, PLLC

3 Legal Technicalities That Could Drastically Affect Your Workers’ Comp Claim

North Carolina workers’ compensation law is filled with nuance, ambiguity and traps for the unwary. Indeed, there are literally hundreds of ways to unintentionally damage or even destroy your claim if you are unfamiliar with the system. Following is a very abbreviated list of potential pitfalls that a North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney can help you avoid.

Did Your Injury Result From an “Accident”?

North Carolina workers’ compensation law compensates workers for accidents, and the word “accident” is carefully defined under the law. In order to qualify as an “accident”, in most cases your injury must have occurred outside of your normal work routine — in other words, something unusual must have happened. Whether or not an injury resulted from an “accident” is a very frequently litigated issue. An “accident” might mean a fall, a machine malfunction or a car wreck.

One important exception to the narrow definition of the word “accident” applies to back injuries — you can receive compensation for a back injury if it arises out of a specific traumatic incident, even if the incident would not otherwise qualify as an “accident” under North Carolina workers’ compensation law.

Did You Claim All of Your Wages and Benefits for the Purposes of Calculating Your Workers’ Compensation Wage Replacement Payments?

In most cases, the way you calculate the amount of your wage replacement payments is to add up all of your wages and benefits and multiply them by 75 percent. You will underestimate the amount you are entitled to if you fail to include the value of any benefits your employer provides in addition to your regular wages. Extra benefits might include food, transportation or lodging, at least under the right circumstances. It may take some skill to calculate the exact dollar value of these benefits.

Do You Have a Pre-Existing Injury?

Although a pre-existing injury at the site of your current injury (an old back injury, for example) does not automatically disqualify you from receiving workers’ compensation benefits, insurance companies love to seize upon the fact of pre-existing injury to assert that at least part of your injury existed prior to your accident. They do this because they can reduce or perhaps even defeat your claim that way.

There is No Such Thing as a Detail

Raleigh workers’ compensation lawyer John A. Hedrick has been practicing workers’ compensation law for decades, and he has been certified as a Specialist in workers’ compensation law by the North Carolina Bar Association.

Contact us today by calling 919-626-3895, emailing us at john@johnhedricklaw.com or by completing our online contact form for a free evaluation of your claim.

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