North Carolina and Virginia attract a lot of tourists each year, at our lovely beaches, and beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. People visit also visit our states for work, to visit their children in school, to attend all sorts of social functions, and for many other reasons. Many local residents use the state’s hotels, motels, and other lodging sites for similar reasons. The management at these lodgings do their best to often make seasonal hires to service their customers and these hires work hard to make sure guests enjoy their stay. The work can be stressful, repetitive, and can involve a lot of physical activity. There are a lot of other dangers too – especially if the venue has additional services such as restaurants, pools, gyms, and entertainment.
If you work in any type of hospitality profession, you have the right to file for workers’ compensation if you are injured while performing your job duties provided you are an employee.
What are the different types of hospitality jobs in North Carolina and Virginia?
There are many different types of hospitality jobs. Some of these jobs involve direct contact with the guests. Others are behind the scenes. Hospitality jobs include housekeeping, janitorial work, maintenance, front-desk check-ins, bellhops that carry luggage, concierges who answer questions about the hotel and the region, event planners, marketing teams, shuttle drivers, and hotel managers.
If there are additional services; then hospitality workers may include cooks, waiters, hostesses, lifeguards, groundskeepers, and many other workers.
What types of injuries do hospitality workers in North Carolina and Virginia suffer?
Hotel, motel, and other quest quarters workers can suffer injuries that may require losing time from work for a few weeks, a few months, or permanently. Our seasoned workers’ compensation lawyer works with the treating doctors and our network of doctors to verify your injuries through diagnostic tests and medical reports.
We work to show what treatments you need and why your injuries are preventing you from returning to work. Joe Miller Law Ltd. also fights attempts by the employer’s insurance carrier to force you to return to work before you are ready. If you can return to work – but only with restrictions (such as not standing more than an hour at a time without a rest break) – we detail what those restrictions are.
Some of the injuries that hospitality workers may suffer include:
- Injuries while lifting mattresses, pushing luggage on carts or just carrying the luggage, preparing food, and other injuries due to excess lifting, pulling, or pushing.
- Neck, shoulder, and back issues
- Nerve, tissue, ligament, and muscle damage
- Cuts, lacerations, and puncture woods
- Repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis
- Third-degree burn injuries
- Acts of violence
- Sexual assaults
- Sexual or physical assaults.
- Injuries while performing house cleaning or vacuuming duties
- Breathing and skin disorders due to exposure to dangerous cleaning agents and other chemicals
Many injuries especially sexual assaults require psychological care in addition to care for physical injuries.
Injuries due to falls are quite common. They can cause spinal cord damage, broken bones, head trauma, and other injuries that may cause chronic pain. Falls may happen because the stairs are uneven, the railings are loose, the floors are slippery (such as when guests and workers track in rain and snow from outside), there are loose cables or wires, and for a host of other reasons.
Repetitive stress injuries are quite common. For example, maids routinely lift and position mattresses for every room on several floors and clean bathrooms every day
When can I file a workers’ compensation claim if I’m hurt in my hospitality job?
There are just a few requirements you need to meet to file a workers’ compensation claim for a hospitality injury.
The first requirement is that you must be an employee – not an independent contractor. The key factor is not what your employer says you are or whether your employer pays you with a W-2 or a 1099. The key factor is whether your employer controls your work performance. Normally, a maid or desk-clerk who is hired full-time will be considered an employee. On the other hand, a plumber who is called in for just one job that takes an hour is likely an independent contractor. We’ll fight to show you do qualify as an employee if the facts support it.
The second requirement is that your injuries must be work-related. The most common example is when you slip and fall at work due to an accident. Any type of accident that occurs at work that causes your injuries should qualify you (provided you’re an employee).
In Virginia, there is an additional requirement that the accident “arise out of” or be due to a risk unique to your employment. So- walking across a normal floor or walking up or down stairs that are not defective and just tripping for no apparent reason would NOT be covered in Virginia. On the other hand, if the fall was due to some risk of employment, such as you were carrying all of your equipment and could not grab the banister on the stairs, the floor was soapy or your shoes were soapy, that would likely be covered. In North Carolina, it would be covered regardless.
Some injuries are just due to wear and tear over time. Other than carpal tunnel syndrome, those types of injuries are NOT covered by workers compensation. You must typically show a single traumatic event restricted to a moment in time.
Your injuries must be due to your work. If your injuries are due to a pre-existing condition, you will need to show the accident worsened or aggravated your prior injuries.
The accident must have occurred during the scope of your employment. If you burn yourself while working at a hotel restaurant, you meet this requirement. If you burn yourself at a home barbecue, you do not qualify for workers’ compensation.
What benefits can an injured or ill hospitality worker claim?
If you are hurt while doing your hospitality work, we seek:
- Payment of all their medical expenses related to the work injuries to improve their health and provide relief from your injuries.
- Temporary total disability benefits while you are unable to return to work. This is 2/3rds of your average weekly wage for up to 500 weeks.
- Temporary partial disability benefits. If you are able to return to some form of work, albeit at a lesser rate of pay due to your physical restrictions set by your doctor, you may be entitled to 2/3rds of the difference between your pre-injury average weekly wage and your new, lower average weekly wage. This can be paid out for up to 500 weeks, when combined with any other payments such as temporary total and/or permanent partial disability benefits.
- Permanent partial disability or impairment benefits If you have a permanent injury that is covered by the Virginia or North Carolina workers’ compensation statute. ), an evaluation is usually made to determine whether you have a permanent partial disability and the seriousness (impairment level) of that disability. If your permanent partial disability is proven, you should receive additional pay for a specific number of weeks – at the 2/3rds wage compensation rate, even if you have returned to full duty at work.
We’ll explain if you are entitled to any other benefits such as vocational rehabilitation benefits.
At Joe Miller Law Ltd., our North Carolina and Virginia workers’ compensation lawyer has helped thousands of injured workers obtain strong recoveries. We’ll answer all your questions and guide you through each phase of the claims process. We help injured and ill hospitality workers return to work – but only when they are physically and emotionally ready. If you were hurt while working for a hotel or another type of hospitality business, call lawyer Joe Miller, Esq., at 888-667-8295 or complete my online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
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