In North Carolina, some workers’ compensation cases are easy to settle and the process runs smoothly, and some look like a never-ending nightmare.
The “dream” case
Your employer is treating the employees well, your accident is a clear injured-at-work case, your prospects of healing are good and there are no pending medical issues. If you are being offered compensation for time lost and injury-related medical bills, you may take it, but you should still make sure that the figures match.
Medical bills: Be sure that there are no bills in the mail — some lab tests invoices may come later, for instance — and that you have reviewed the physician’s statement that you are doing fine and will live to a ripe age.
Time lost: How was the AWW (average weekly wage) calculated? Did it include compensation for overtime, bonuses and/or commissions? What previous period was it based on? How did they calculate the waiting period? What percentage was applied to your AWW to calculate the temporary total disability (TTD)?
If you have the answers from reliable sources and the figures match, you may want to settle with the insurance adjuster. You know, of course, that this settlement will forsake your ability to secure any kind of future compensation based on this accident.
The “nightmare” case
Many accidents are far more complex than the above example and have far reaching implications. The first “nightmarish” aspect of such an accident is if you have suffered painful and severe injuries and need good medical treatment. The other aspect that may haunt your nights is the fear of losing your job and income. The third aspect, which varies from case to case, is the integrity of the independent medical examiner, claims adjuster, insurance carrier and your employer.
Would you want to settle with a claims adjuster just because he or she asks you to? The proposed settlement may seem attractive to you, but how was it calculated, and what will be left after taxes, or after 30 years?
Your injuries, medical treatment, job and the integrity of the players, needs to be looked into with great care before settling with your employer’s insurance company. Claims adjusters work for the insurance company. The insurance company is paid by the employer and their financial results are scrutinized by their shareholders. Doctors are appointed by the insurance company.
Where do you fit in? Fortunately, the North Carolina workers’ compensation system works under rules and regulations that are well established, and some lawyers have the experience and skill to hold the bad faith players accountable when your rights are being trampled on.
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 for a FREE, no commitment discussion of your case.