If you or a loved one has sustained a head injury at work in North Carolina, the decisions you make in the days and weeks following the accident can have a great impact on your future wellness.
First, you need to be very careful before describing your injury to your employer or his insurance carrier. Second, your workers’ compensation will be very different depending on the classification of your injury. Third, if you are declared permanently and totally disabled, you will have to seek compensation for lost wages, medical treatment and possibly attendant care services.
It is free and invaluable. Make sure you download attorney Joseph Miller’s books: The Nine Biggest Myths About North Carolina Workplace Injuries, and The North Carolina Workers Compensation Guide to Settlements, which will both answer many of the questions you have about workplace injuries, claims and settlements.
How do you define your head injury? Head injuries come in many forms, ranging from contusions and open wounds to concussions and traumatic brain injuries. The first thing not to do is to declare your injury as a head injury if you have had a concussion or worse. A head injury does not mean brain injury to the insurance company dealing with your case. In case of doubt, it is better to declare a brain injury, even if that is later contested.
The consequences of a brain injury may not be apparent immediately but could be severe and long lasting. Crippling headaches, loss of memory, irritability, and attention deficit are but a few of the symptoms that could have a negative impact on your ability to work and enjoy your life. If you agree to have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) before knowing the long term effects of your injury, you could lose a sizeable part of your compensation that you will need at later stage.
How is your injury classified? If the doctor states that you have reached MMI, you will be either declared to be permanently totally disabled (PTD), or permanently partially disabled (PPD). From a compensation point of view, PTD pays injured North Carolina workers much more than PPD. Whereas PTD benefits are granted for life, the compensation of PPD will be paid during a number of weeks, based on the worker’s impairment rating, and in some cases on other elements like your age and level of income. If the disability brought about by your head injury is severe enough to prevent you from returning to a high–paying job, and your impairment is rated low, you could find yourself in a difficult financial situation.
PTD compensation. If you have sustained a brain injury with long lasting crippling effects and have been declared unable to go back to work (permanently and totally disabled), you will be entitled to lifetime compensation. The importance of correctly documenting your lost wages, your future medical expenses and possibly attendant care services, is not to be overstated, as these benefits are calculated over a lifetime. Oftentimes, the insurance carrier will offer you a clincher deal that allows you to collect a lump sum immediately in exchange for a waiver on all future benefits. Obviously, clincher deals should only be agreed to after a very thorough examination of all the possible future scenarios.
Injured workers in North Carolina having suffered head or brain injuries or any injury leading to permanent impairment, like spinal cord, back and neck or severe limb injuries, can have a hard time obtaining the medical care and adequate compensation to which they are entitled.
In such all-important cases, they should consult an experienced and determined North Carolina workers’ comp lawyer like attorney Joseph Miller who focuses exclusively on workers’ compensation and knows the NC law and claim process inside and out.
Contact Joe Miller Law in Elizabeth City, where attorney Joseph Miller, Esq has been representing injured North Carolina workers for over 20 years. Call us locally 757-455-8889 or toll-free 888-694-1671 or contact us online, for a FREE, no commitment discussion of your case.