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.