Posted on Thursday, November 1st, 2018 at 3:06 pm
Anyone injured in a workplace accident or who becomes ill due to an occupational illness has the right to request that the employer pay workers’ compensation benefits. There is no requirement that the employee prove fault. Injured workers must report their injury to their employer or a supervisor.
Once the injury is reported (sometimes after emergency medical care is obtained), the worker can seek medical help. Virginia and North Carolina workers’ compensation will normally pay for all your medical bills.
Worker’s compensation should pay all your medical bills to get better and to stay better. That includes:
The time you need to spend with chiropractors is generally covered too, within limits.
In Virginia, unless you have already established a course of care with someone, you are able to choose from a list of 3 doctors (called a “panel”) provided by your employer. This applies for each type of specialist and care. If the doctors aren’t helping you or your employer doesn’t work with the medical providers you need, an experienced work injury lawyer may be able to help get authorization to see doctors of your own choosing.
In North Carolina, there is unfortunately no provision for a panel of three doctors. You must usually go to whomever you are directed by the workers comp insurance company; however, unlike Virginia, there are other provisions for a second opinion in the event you disagree with the findings of your authorized treating doctor.
If you need prosthetics, a wheelchair, braces, or other medical equipment; the cost of those devices is normally covered, too. Additionally, workers’ compensation should cover all your prescriptions and medications too.
In some cases, workers need to be retrained because they’ll never be able to return to the type of work they did before the accident or illness. Skilled work injury lawyers help you get the funds you need to be to be retrained or reeducated if you need vocational help.
Employees, in general, are entitled to a percentage (66 and 2/3rds, or .66667) of their average weekly wages while they can’t work. The percentage is a compromise that ensures workers get a good part of their pay. Workers don’t get 100% because the compromise in the law that was agreed upon long ago was and is that the worker doesn’t have to prove the employer was at fault for the accident. There are some limitations such as that there is a one week waiting period and there is a maximum rate on how much a worker can be paid for work injuries. There is also a minimum amount, if your wage exceeds the minimum amount.
There are several different types of disability payments depending on the severity and the type of injury or illness:
Most workers receive temporary total disability. Their medical bills are covered for life as long as it can be proven that the treatment is related to the work injury, and reasonable and necessary to treat the condition.
It bears noting a very important difference between North Carolina and Virginia in this regard. In NC, the highest ratable body part for impairment is the back, which really includes the entire spine, even the neck. That comes in at up to 300 weeks.
In Virginia, not only is the back on the highest ratable body part, it is not considered a ratable body part at all. In other words, in Virginia, a back or neck injury is not eligible for an impairment rating at all. The spine is not a ratable body part.
Tragically, some workers die due to falls, explosions and other causes. As a general rule, states like North Carolina and Virginia pay a significant part of the funeral and burial costs. Additionally, spouses and dependents normally entitled to a percentage of their loved one’s average weekly wages up to 500 weeks. It may be possible to obtain a lump sum payment. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can explain if stepchildren, adopted children, and other dependents, parents, and other relatives may qualify.
Contact a respected Virginia or North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney immediately
Delay can absolutely hurt your case. We have had to turn down many, many cases simply because the caller waited too long to contact a lawyer. At the North Carolina and Virginia Law office of Joe Miller Esq., we have the experience and resources to help you get justice for your work injuries or occupational illness. We’ll fight to get you ever dollar you deserve. For help now, call 1-(888) 667-8295 or complete my contact form. He’s been fighting for injured workers for more than 30 years.
Posted on Friday, October 26th, 2018 at 4:44 pm
The title sounds good. A nice nurse case manager (NCM) will help you communicate with your doctors. They’ll help you get to your appointments and look out for your best interests. But don’t be fooled. The nurse case manager is hired by the employer’s insurance company to help you return to work – often before you’re really ready.
Nurse case managers help set up appointments with your doctors, psychologists, and therapists. They keep notes on your appointments and progress including if you missed or were late for appointments. They meet with your doctors, sometimes while you are meeting with your doctor, other times after ou have left the appointment.
Nurse case managers report back to the insurance company. They are really the “eyes and ears” of the insurance company insofar as your medical treatment is concerned and is part of what I call the trinity of “defense professionals” that are typically employed to try and derail your case. If the insurer thinks that you aren’t following your doctor’s treatment plan for you, they can seek to terminate your rights to both wage loss benefits and payments for medical treatments.
That being said, we have found that that “good” nurse case managers are a rare occurrence. Usually, spurred on by the insurance company, the nurse case manager’s aim is to encourage your doctor to release you to return to work. While employees generally do want to return to work where they can get full pay, enjoy doing a job well, and enjoy the companionship of workers – employees should know they have the right to return to work when they’re healthy and not before.
A nurse case manager means that you will lose some privacy over the way you handle your recovery. For many workers, the pain and anxiety of the recovery process can be unbearable. It’s not comfortable for many workers to have to share intimate and personal information with anyone who is not fighting for them 100 %. Many people are afraid to admit how much they really hurt. With their health providers, they should be more open – but with a nurse case manager, they may not fully say all their complaints – which can hurt their case.
Nurse case managers are informed of your medical history, your disability, what caused the accident, the work restrictions you have, and other personal sensitive information.
Losing your privacy pales in comparison to some of the other things nurses can do to directly affect your benefits.
Employees should always speak with an experienced work injury lawyer as soon as a nurse case manager asks to be involved in your claim. The attorney will explain what the nurse case manager can and can’t do. The attorney will explain that the nurse case manager does NOT have the right to be in the examining room with you the entire time and that you have the right to speak with your physician in private, so you don’t hesitate to say everything that’s wrong with you.
Even if the nurse case manager can directly help, for example – help you move because you’re not mobile due to leg or feet injuries – once you are in the doctor’s examining room, you have the right to ask the nurse case manager to sit in the waiting room, assuming the doctor is agreeable.
Many workers have significant injuries that cause additional problems that are not obviously related to the original injury. For instance, workers with severe spinal injuries may be embarrassed to admit in front of the nurse case manager that they are experiencing incontinence or erectile dysfunction—and the worker may not realize that these issues are directly related to their spinal injuries. The physician needs to understand all your physical pains, issues, and emotional anxieties to treat you properly.
In addition, some workers hate to admit they can’t do their job. They may try to do more than they can to get back to work. Doctors need to conduct a full examination to understand if you can do your prior job. They need to conduct tests to analyze what restrictions (such as not lifting more than 20 pounds) are required. When the nurse case manager is out of the room, the doctor and the patient won’t feel rushed or pressured. They can review each job task that you must do to work.
You have the right to be present when the doctor or health provider and the nurse case manager review your case. The nurse case manager is supposed to be working for you, even though in fact, she is an agent of the insurance company. You have the right to know what is being discussed about your case. If a nurse case manager violates this right, you should inform your lawyer.
You also have the right to challenge any inappropriate activity the nurse case manager engages in. Despite her name, the nurse case manager MAY NOT manage your medical care. That is the job of your treating physician. For instance, your nurse case manager does not get to decide what kind of treatments you need and where they may take place. An NCM’s attempt to divert you to another facility for additional testing or away from a specific specialist recommended by your doctor is not allowed. Her refrain that such a facility or specialist is “not in our network” holds no weight with the Commission. If your treating doctor recommends a certain facility or specialist, then that is where you are to go and the NCM has no right to interfere.
If such attempts to manage your care become an issue, your lawyer may request that the NCM be removed from your case and another nurse case manager be assigned to your case.
Attorney Joe Miller has been a strong advocate for North Carolina and Virginia workers for more than 30 years. He’s helped thousands of injured workers get a just recovery. He’ll guide you through every stop of the workers’ compensation process including dealing with a nurse case manager. To make a free appointment, please call 1-(888) 667-8295 or complete my contact form.
Posted on Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018 at 4:49 pm
Police officers, firefighters, and providers of emergency medical services deserve more than just our thanks and respect. They deserve to be honored for the extremely hard jobs and often dangerous work they do. One way to honor them is to pay them the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve when they are unable to perform their jobs due to workplace injuries or occupational illnesses.
Many public servants work long hours, sometimes in the middle of the night. Injuries are a natural part of all three types of public service jobs.
Injuries and illnesses that firefighters, police officers, and EMS workers often need medical care and time off from work for
Public servants who exert themselves physically and emotionally and who work with people in distress can easily suffer an accident or attack that leads to one or more of the following injuries/illnesses:
Other typical injuries that cause a public servant to need to file for workers’ compensation include:
Firefighters, police officers, and EMS workers are very prone to develop stress-related disorders and diseases. For this reason, injured public servants should feel confident that these medical conditions will be taken seriously by the North Carolina Industrial Commission or Virginia Workers Compensation Commission.
Get help for your work injury claim today
Joe Miller Esq. has been helping public servants and all types of workers for more than 30 years. At the Work Injury Center, he represents work injury victims in both North Carolina and Virginia. He’s helped thousands of workers get economic justice. To speak with an experienced, caring workers’ compensation lawyer, please call (888) 694-1671 or fill out my contact form.
Posted on Monday, September 24th, 2018 at 4:07 pm
Not every accident is equal. At one extreme are rear-end collisions which rarely kill someone. In most cases, the car accident victims suffer whiplash and soft tissue issue injuries. At the other extreme, are head-on collisions and broadside collisions. These latter types of injuries often kill a car occupant or cause the driver or passengers to suffer very serious injuries.
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, for the year 2016:
Experienced North Carolina car accident lawyers guide families of the deceased and guide the survivors through each phase of the trial process.
In this type of a crash two vehicles collide front to side. This means the front of one car, usually the car at fault, drives into the side of another car. Broadside crashes are also called T-bone crashes because the position of the cars on impact looks like the letter “T.” Because the cars strike at right angles to each other, there’s a strong likelihood that one or both cars will spin out of control which can cause a multi-vehicle accident.
The occupants of the car whose side is struck often suffer the most harm because the side of a car offers virtually no protection – unlike the hood of the other car. Side airbags are also less likely to deploy than front air bags. The occupants of both cars are likely to be thrown about the car, if the airbags don’t deploy. The occupants in the car whose front strikes the other car are also likely to be thrown into the windshield or the dashboard. Occupants of both cars are likely to be thrown into each other.
How broadside car crashes happen
Generally, the car whose front strikes the side of the other car is the car at fault. The driver and the owners of this front car should be held accountable for any injuries or deaths they cause. Some of the reasons for broadside accidents are:
The worst-case scenario is that a driver or passenger will be killed. When someone dies, experienced North Carolina and Virginia car accident lawyers file wrongful death actions on behalf of the estate of the decedent and the surviving family members.
Survivors of broadside collisions can suffer traumatic brain injury, paralysis, broken bones, acute and chronic bone, damage to ligaments and muscles, damage to the spinal cord, internal bleeding, and any many other injuries. Some injuries may resolve with months or years of medical care. Other injuries can completely alter a person’s life. Flying glass, striking other car parts, knocking into passengers, and even being stuck on the steering column are common broadside injuries.
In addition to killing or injuring passengers, T-bone crashes often destroy the vehicles involved or require extensive repairs. Generally, if the cost to fix the car is more than the value of the car, the damage is considered a total loss. In total loss cases, owners are entitled to demand payment from the responsible drivers/owners and applicable insurance companies for the value of the car.
Head-on car crashes are often deadly. Survivors often suffer catastrophic injuries which require a lifetime of care. Many victims often need the jaws of life tool just to be extricated from the vehicles. In most cases, one driver is clearly in the wrong because he/she was in the wrong lane of traffic. But this is not always the case. Sometimes a vehicle may be knocked into the oncoming lane by a vehicle headed in the same direction, in which case the fault would originate with the vehicle who slammed into the car that was thrust into the oncoming lane. Some reasons why a driver might go the wrong way down a one-way street, drive on the wrong side in a two-lane road, or go the wrong way on a road ramp are:
In head-on collision cases, the personal representative for the estate of someone who was killed can hold the driver who was going the wrong way and/or other at-fault drivers accountable for wrongful death damages. In North Carolina, the Estate of the deceased should sue the irresponsible driver for all their damages such as physical pain of the deceased, loss of service and society, as well as the emotional suffering of the beneficiaries, lost wages, and medical bills. Medical bills include surgeries, hospital stays necessary to attempt to save the life of the decedent.
In addition to standard damages, experienced North Carolina trial lawyers will often seek to punish the driver’s bad behavior through an award of punitive damages. Punitive damages can be awarded in North Carolina, if a defendant acted recklessly, wantonly, or maliciously. A case can be made that a drunk driver, a distracted driver, or a speeding driver was acting recklessly and without any regard for the safety of passengers and the occupants of other vehicles.
Of course, if the deceased or injured driver was acting in the course of employment, an additional claim must be made for workers compensation benefits. If there is a death, then there are additional workers compensation death benefits available to the dependents of the deceased worker under the Workers Compensation Act. It is very important, particularly in Virginia, that the injury case against the other driver NOT be settled, as long as there is a pending workers compensation case. If this occurs, it could wipe out any workers compensation benefits available to the dependents of the deceased or the ongoing workers compensation case of the injured worker.
Make the call to a respected North Carolina and Virginia accident lawyer today
At the North Carolina and Virginia Law office of Joe Miller Esq., we have the experience and resources to hold irresponsible and reckless drivers accountable for the physical pain and emotional harm they cause. Attorney Joe Miller has been fighting for injury victims for more than 30 years. To schedule a free consultation, please call (888) 694-1671 or complete my contact form.
Posted on Monday, September 17th, 2018 at 9:18 am
Accidents at work happen for all sorts of reasons. Many injured workers who call our office start out talking about all the reasons why the employer was “at fault” for the accident, and how they want to “sue” their employer because of this.
First of all, with extremely limited exceptions, you cannot “sue” your employer. All cases against an employer for work-related injuries are subject to either the Virginia or North Carolina Workers Compensation Act.
That being said, there is also no requirement to prove the employer caused the accident or was negligent. The main requirements are that the worker was an employee, that the accident was work-related, and that that the worker currently cannot work because of the injuries suffered in the accident. North Carolina has a higher requirement of proof than Virginia. In Virginia, an employee can simply be lifting something very heavy or be forced to turn in an awkward way—and this can be compensable.
In North Carolina, unless it is a back injury, this will not suffice. There must be a slip, trip, or fall to qualify for a work injury.
Workplace accidents can differ depending on the type of work you do. Generally, construction workers and folks in high-risk occupations such as tree-cutting are more prone to accidents than other workers. Still, nurses, technical workers, restaurant servers, and anyone in any job may suddenly find themselves unable to work due to a workplace injury.
Some of the injuries that force workers to file a workers’ compensation claim are:
Workers who survive the fall may suffer paralysis, traumatic brain injury, never damage, broken bones and other serious injuries. Workers who can’t work again due to these injuries can claim up to 500 weeks of temporary total disability benefits. (TTD) Workers with certain types of injuries may have the right to demand additional benefits, as they near the end of their 500 weeks, which would be permanent and total injury benefits. Workers who can work again but at less stressful jobs can claim temporary partial disability (TPD) until they can work again. When the worker then starts working at a lower paying job, they can claim partial disability work injury benefits at 2/3rds of the difference between the pre-injury wage and the lower wage, for up to 500 weeks.
In all work injury cases, employees are entitled to payment of all reasonable and necessary medical bills including surgeries, doctor visits, physical therapy, emotional counseling, medical devices, and medications. They should demand their wage loss benefits, which are 2/3rds of the Average Weekly Wage usually for up to 500 weeks, as long as the injured worker is unable to work. Workers shouldn’t be forced back to work until they are ready. In some cases, injured workers may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation benefits so they can transfer to a different type of job.
Understand your work injury rights by calling us today
At the North Carolina and Virginia Law office of Joe Miller Esq., we are respected for our ability to get strong results. For more than 25 years, we’ve been fighting for injured workers. We work to show your claim is valid. We understand the arguments insurance companies use to try to deny your claim. Do not wait to call us or take any action in your case without calling our office first. Many injured workers ruin their case by taking action on their own without contacting a knowledgeable workers compensation lawyer. Please do not do this. Attorney Miller works with your doctors to understand your medical condition, prognosis, and the reasons you can’t work. To speak with an experienced work injury lawyer, please call (888) 694-1671 or fill out my contact form to schedule an appointment.
Posted on Thursday, September 13th, 2018 at 1:00 pm
Teachers help our country become a better place by education our children and giving them hope for the future. While there are many rewarding sides to teaching, there are physical risks and a great deal of stresses. These risks and stresses can lead to accidents and illnesses. Several questions also arise in teaching claims such as whether claims can be made if you get hurt in after-school and away-from the school activities. In addition, with regard to public schools, which are typically funded by cities and counties, settlement may be out of the question. This is because for the most part— with some exceptions— municipalities and public entities tend to shy away from settling workers comp cases. It really depends how the public entity is insured and whether there are funds set aside to settle cases.
Some of the ways teachers can hurt while teaching include:
Teachers are entitled to the following:
Teachers may also be entitled to vocational rehabilitation if they are unable to return to teaching again.
Dependents of teachers who are tragically killed have the right to demand workers’ compensation death benefits.
Some additional issues teachers face in claiming North Carolina or Virginia work injury benefits.
Speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer today
Attorney Joe Miller Esq., has helped thousands of injured employees get justice. He’s been a strong advocate for injured workers for more than 25 years. He understands your legal rights and works with your medical doctors, and independent doctors, so you aren’t forced back to work until you’re able to work. For help now and answers to your questions, please call (888) 694-1671 or complete my contact form.
Posted on Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 at 2:47 pm
Virginia Workers Compensation Attorney Joe Miller explains when you may be entitled to a three-doctor panel of doctors to choose from for your ongoing medical care for your work injury:
Posted on Thursday, August 23rd, 2018 at 9:33 am
What if you’re hurt on the job in Virginia and your employer has failed to maintain workers compensation insurance? Attorney Joe Miller explains in his latest video:
Posted on Tuesday, August 21st, 2018 at 8:30 am
What do you do if you’re fired during your workers’ compensation case? Attorney Joe Miller answers the question:
Posted on Tuesday, August 7th, 2018 at 8:33 am
According to the Claims Journal, more and more older workers are continuing to work well past retirement age. While older workers bring a lot of skills and experience to their jobs, old age is a factor in people becoming injured. The Journal story cites data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2017 which shows that the 65 and older work category is likely to grow faster than any other age group through 2024.
Another Claims Journal article cited that senior employment (65 and older) increased 101 % between 1997 and 2007. Employment of seniors 75 and older grew by 172% during this time. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020 25%of Americans will be older than 55.
Workers between 25 and 54 are not expected to grow as much as older workers in part due to declining birth rates.
Some of the reasons seniors are working longer are seniors are living longer because of better medical care, financial need, and the lack of good workers. Another factor is the desire of older workers to be productive.
A major concern about older workers isn’t so much that their get hurt more – it’s that their injuries tend to me more severely injured when they do have an accident. Many older workers who suffer a workplace accident do die. As an example, nearly 3,200 workers 55 or older were killed in vehicle accidents between 1992 and 2002. 22% of these accidents were work-related. Falls are another cause of fatal accidents for the elderly.
Older workers, according to Department of Labor statistics, are more likely to develop disabilities. Seniors are at increased risk for diabetes and obesity. While these conditions don’t automatically qualify a worker for work benefits, if another cause (such as a fall) causes injury – these conditions can make the recovery time much longer. Other pre-existing conditions can also extend the recovery time.
Older workers are also more likely to experience sprains and strains if they do manual labor work. The Claims Journal stories also indicate that older workers can have more mental challenges processing information which can lead to more accidents.
The Department of Labor recommends that employers consider these programs to help reduce injuries to older workers:
The NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) recently started the National Center for Productive Aging and Work. This a “virtual center,” specifically created to help understand how to make older workers productive. The Center’s Director, John Howard, M.D., said that the Center hopes to continue its research to create a safe environment for aging workers.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) also suggests that employers consider the following workplace changes:
The Claims Journal raised several other concerns about elder workers:
Experienced workers are being replaced by millennials as well as many less skilled workers. Many baby boomers are retiring when they reach 65. The combination of less skilled workers and senior workers affects how work is done. Less skilled workers require expensive training which many employers can’t afford. More safety designs for older workers can add to employer expenses too. Without the necessary training and safety expenses, more accidents are likely.
Unfortunately, one of the problems is that the health of the average American worker seems to be declining. This is true of older workers too. According to the Claims Journal stories, “When an injured worker has at least one chronic condition, the workers’ compensation claim cost doubles. If they have two or more, the cost of the work comp claim goes up fivefold.”
Another change in the workplace is the increased use of opioids to treat chronic pain, although this, in turn, has been affected by the new regulations with respect to opioids.
This is nothing new to our firm. We have always tended to represent a higher percentage of older workers because frankly, when an older worker is injured, it is less likely that he or she will recover sufficiently to be able to return to pre-injury employment. And this translates into a higher potential settlement.
Hispanics also are changing the everyday work forces. According to BLS, about 23 million Hispanic or Latino workers comprised 15% of the country’s workforce in 2011. That number is expected to rise to 19% by 2020.
Because the Latino population is rising, it is important to hire workers who understand Spanish and English and workers who understand other languages. We have seen this create problems, particularly in the area of construction. Workers who cannot understand each other while working at heights is a recipe for disaster and serious injury.
Learning each other’s language also helps workers culturally connect. It also helps employers who want to develop relationships with foreign businesses. Even insurance companies understand the need to hire insurance adjusters and nurse case managers who are speak Spanish. Insurance companies that establish language lines also helps employees who are injured.
Talk with an Experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney today
Workers’ compensation attorney Joe Miller Esq., represents injured workers of any age, although more often than not, our clients tend to be over 50. He fights for workers who work in construction, manufacturing, shipping, healthcare, telecommunications, firefighting, law enforcement, and any type of job. He understands the injuries that are unique to your profession and the ones that are common to many professions. He’ll fight to get you all the wage compensation loss you deserve plus all the medical payments you need to get better. For help from a highly respected lawyer, please phone Joe Miller Law at the Work Injury Center at (888) 694-1671 or fill out my contact form to schedule an appointment.