Home

     Overview
     Attorneys
     Resources
     Paralegals
     Contact Us

     Directions
   Hedrick Law Firm, PC
Serving Eastern North Carolina    

    Frequently Ask In Workers' Compensation   Call Now, We Answer Your Questions Free 910-541-1432

Visit Our Office                            
 5725 Oleander Drive, Suite D3
 Wilmington, NC 28403
 Phone: (910) 343-1432
 Fax: (910) 762-3132
 Mr. Hedrick's Office Direct: (910) 541-1432

Q. What types of injuries are covered by Workers' Compensation?

A. Virtually any injury which is suffered on the job while the employee is performing his work duties is covered under Workers' Compensation law (whether a cut, broken finger, broken back or death).

Top

Q. If I am injured on the job, what benefits am I entitled to collect?

A. The Workers' Compensation laws vary greatly from state to state. In North Carolina an injured employee would be entitled to payment of all medical expense (including physical rehabilitation, medications, home healthcare, physical therapy, etc.). Those employees whose injuries keep them from working may be entitled to weekly temporary disability benefits. In North Carolina these benefits are calculated based on two-thirds of the employee's average weekly wage, subject to certain maximum benefits. Temporary disability benefits (TTD) are discontinued once the employee returns to work. If the employee has suffered some form of permanent injury, a physician normally assesses an impairment rating and work restricitions, which are used as a basis for determining the amount of permanent disability benefits a worker is entitled to claim. The amount paid for permanent disability depends on several factors, including the impairment rating, the age and education of the employee, and whether the employee will be able to return to the same or similar employment or will suffer any loss of ability to earn in the future.

Top

Q. Do I need to hire an attorney if I am injured on the job?

A. An injured worker may choose to represent himself or herself and can obtain a minimal degree of legal assistance through the North Carolina Industrial Commission ( NCIC ). If the injury is not serious, and if the employer's Workers' Compensation insurance company accepts the claim, most employees do not need an attorney. If, however, the injuries appear to be serious, it would be wise to at least consult an attorney early on in the claim, especially to evaluate whether there is any possibility of a claim being made against someone other than the employer. An attorney can also be valuable in advising an employee whose injuries are permanent and will likely prevent the employee from returning to the same employment or occupation.

Top

Q. How quickly should I contact an attorney?

A. To be safe, you should talk to an attorney as soon as possible, especially if the injuries are severe or a death has resulted. All too often valuable evidence disappears, witnesses move, memories grow dim and the practical ability to prove your case may diminish.

Top

Q. Can I sue my employer?

A. In North Carolina, as in many states, Workers' Compensation is termed an "exclusive remedy."In other words, the injured employee is limited to filing a claim with the NC Industrial Commission and cannot file a lawsuit against the employer in civil court nor is the employee entitled to a jury trial. Instead the claim is presented before an Judge, known as a Deputy Commissioner. (You do have the right to appeal the judge's decision). Damages for pain and suffering and for mental and emotional anguish are not allowed. Other forms of damages may also be limited or unavailable.

Top

Q. Can I bring a claim against persons other than my employer?

A. Because the types of damages available in Workers' Compensation cases are limited, the ability to obtain compensation from other sources can be very important. An injured employee might be entitled to more than one source of recovery. An example would be an employee who, while working in a factory, loses his hand while operating a piece of machinery. The employee would be entitled to Workers' Compensation benefits but might also have a claim against the company who designed, supplied and/or installed the equipment. This would be especially true if the equipment lacked adequate warnings or lacked guards and/or interlock devices which would have prevented the injury. Another example might involve an automobile accident in which an employee is injured while traveling on company business. The employee would be entitled to Workers' Compensation and, if the driver of the other vehicle was at fault, could maintain a claim against the other driver.

Top

Q. Do I have to go to the doctor that the company chooses?

A. Initially, the employer has the right to choose your physician. If you change physicians without going through the proper procedures, your medical expenses may not be paid. You can change physicians either by agreement with your employer, approval of the Industrial Commission or if the physician the company sends you to refers you to another physician.

Top

Q. What about the cost of going to and from the doctor?

A. In North Carolina you are entitled to be paid mileage, round-trip, to and from any medical provider or pharmacy.

Top

Q. What if I am unable to return to my old job?

A. Your employer is not required to keep your job open. If, however, you are physically unable to return to your usual occupation, you may be entitled to be retrained, and this may also be an important factor in terms of the overall permanent disability benefits you may be entitled to claim.

Top

Q. How much does it cost to hire an attorney?

A. Attorney fees in North Carolina worker's compensation cases are generally contingent fees, based on a percentage of the benefits which the attorney obtains for the client.

Top

 Visit Our Office
 5725 Oleander Drive, Suite D3
 Wilmington, NC 28403
 Phone: (910) 343-1432
 Fax: (910) 762-3132
 Direct Dial Mr. Hedrick: (910) 541-1432