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Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin 1-866-900-7078

Moving Your Workers’ Comp Claim Forward

You were injured at work. Now you have a workers’ compensation claim. How do you move your claim forward in an effort to try to recover from your injury?

The answer, hands down, is to get medical treatment and provide all necessary medical documentation to show evidence of the medical treatment you are receiving.

Without medical treatment, not only do you risk not getting better, but you also run the risk of stalling your workers’ compensation claim. (In my experience, that’s just what some insurers hope for.) If you do not have proper medical documentation, it makes it easier for the workers’ compensation insurance company to try to deny you the benefits you may be entitled to.

So it is important that when the insurance company is sending you for medical treatment, you follow the doctor’s orders. This means:

  • Attending all appointments as scheduled
  • Taking medication as prescribed
  • Communicating with the doctor about your injuries
  • Following all restrictions the doctor puts you under

These things are important for two reasons. First, the doctor is the medical expert. If he thinks you need to do something to get better, then you need to do it. Second, if you don’t follow your doctor’s orders, the insurance company can try to use that against you. This can mean trying to deny you benefits, potentially short-changing you in settlement discussions, or asking that your weekly checks be suspended, for example. Any of these things could potentially be bad for you (but good for the insurance company.)

The law is clear. When you are hurt on the job and the insurance company admits it is responsible for paying for your treatment, you are entitled to whatever medical treatment your authorized treating doctors recommend for you. That includes not only office visits to be evaluated by the doctors, but whatever tests, prescriptions, therapy, and other treatments they think you need to get better. You can even get paid for mileage in some instances.

That doesn’t mean the insurance company will always voluntarily follow the law.

We have seen some insurance companies responsible for providing treatment try to deny the medical treatment injured workers need to get better and go back to work. They might do this by arguing that the treatment is unrelated to your work injury, or it is a result of a pre-existing condition (we see that one a lot). Some insurance companies may try to tell you it has closed your file. They cannot just abruptly close your file without your knowledge. And other times, we have seen some insurance companies ignore requests for medical treatment in an effort to try to get the injured worker to simply give up the fight and go away. Meanwhile, you won’t be getting any better.

We’ve seen and experienced our share of insurance horror stories – the deceptions, delay and deny tactics, even outright lies in some cases. So many in fact that we developed a book called Insurance Companies (and Others) Behaving Badly.

Our North Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin have the knowledge and experience to fight for you if the insurance company tries to deny you the medical treatment you need to get better. Based on our team’s 150 years of combined experience, it is almost always a good idea to speak with us about your circumstances. Our confidential case evaluations are free, and you may learn that you’re entitled to more than the insurance company claims.

But don’t wait until it is too late. The sooner you contact us after your job injury the better. We can try to answer your questions about your situation. If you wait to contact us, and the insurance company tries to deny you medical treatment, then you may face delays in your recovery.

Get a Free Case Evaluation from North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

The workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin can help you fight the insurance company if they try to pull any of these stunts. We know the law, we know how to try to protect your rights to medical treatment, and we have the tools, technology, financial resources, and know-how to try to get you the medial treatment you need.

But don’t wait to see if the insurance company tries to deny your care. You need medical treatment when your doctor orders it, not after insurance company delays.

One way to show the insurance company that you mean business when it comes to medical treatment is to contact us today or call 1-866-900-7078 so we can discuss working together to try to protect your rights.

P.S. Click here for more reasons to contact us about your workers’ comp claims.

FREE Hands-On Safe Driving Training for North Carolina Teens

More teens died in North Carolina car accidents in 2016 than compared to previous years. WRAL reported on the troubling statistics from the Governors Highway Safety Administration showing that car crashes and accident-related fatalities are becoming more likely among young drivers in North Carolina.

A common reason for teen car crashes and deaths is distraction from other passengers. There’s a reason North Carolina law limits the number of passengers and their ages in cars driven by teens.

It is dangerous!

Teen Car Accident Risk Rises With Additional Passengers

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety published a comprehensive report on how dangerous it is for young people to have teen passengers under the age of 21 with them while they are driving. The report showed that if a teenager has one other passenger in the car with them who is 21 or under and there are no older passengers in the car, the risk of a collision for a 16 or 17 year old driver is 44% greater per vehicle mile driven as compared with a teen driver who doesn't have younger passengers in the car. With two or more passengers, the risk of a collision is doubled and with three or more passengers you can quadruple that risk.

FREE Hands-On Driving Course for NC Teens

Hands-on teen driving courses geared toward teens may be able to help teen drivers become more aware of the real dangers they face from passenger distractions as well as other safety hazards, such as hydroplaning and skidding, veering off the road, etc.

One such driving safety course offered to teenagers in Raleigh, Charlotte, and surrounding areas (including other states) is Charlotte-based B.R.A.K.E.S (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe).

B.R.A.K.E.S is a national non-profit organization offering
behind-the-wheel training in advanced safety maneuvers for teens, and it is FREE*.

The instructors are professional drivers who are or have been involved in drag racing, law enforcement, or movie stunt driving. The school is AAA-approved, endorsed by the National Coalition for Safer Roads, and Consumer Reports listed the organization among its preferred list of defensive driving schools. KIA sponsors the school by supplying the cars the teens drive during training.

B.R.A.K.E.S is headquartered in Charlotte and offers monthly training courses at the Zmax Dragway at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as well as periodically in the Raleigh area. Click here to sign up for Raleigh courses.

Attorney Brian Clemmons enrolled his teen daughter in a B.R.A.K.E.S course. “She had been somewhat of an insecure driver,” Brian said. “And frankly I wasn’t totally comfortable having her drive in certain situations. This course, I feel, helped develop her confidence on the road. You could see how her self-assurance soared and she became a much better driver immediately after taking it.”

The course exposes your teen to the following hazards while driving a car, but in the safety of a large protected area.

Distraction Exercise

Your teen will be taught how difficult it is to negotiate a tightly coned course while the instructor distracts them. The course is designed to demonstrate just how dangerous cell phones, text messaging, music, traffic, and friends in the car can be.

Accident Avoidance/Slalom Exercise

This two-part course teaches students how to make a split-second reaction to negotiate a quick, evasive lane change without losing control. It is designed to simulate an object or animal suddenly appearing in front of a car. The second part of the course is a coned slalom course where students must negotiate the vehicle around cones while focusing on weight transfer, hand positioning, and eye scanning.

Drop Wheel/Off Road Recovery Exercise

Drop wheel accidents are among the highest causes of injuries and deaths across the U.S. The drop wheel recovery course teaches students how to effectively recover from a drop wheel situation by regaining control of the car and safely returning to the roadway.

Panic Stop Exercise

Students are taught the proper technique to stop a vehicle in the shortest distance while maintaining vehicle control. Students experience first-hand the effects of an A.B.S. (Anti-Lock Braking System) and its ability to keep the wheels from locking while pulsating brake pressure.

Car Control and Recovery Exercise

The skid pad course is designed to prepare students to learn how to drive in bad weather and not to lose control. Students are taught how to properly recover from both over-steer (rear wheel) and under-steer (front wheel) skids.

If you are unable to attend a Raleigh class, the school offers classes once a month in Charlotte. Or you can access the B.R.A.K.E.S 2018 schedule for upcoming Raleigh and Charlotte courses.

NC Attorneys Evaluate Car Accidents FREE

Many of us are parents and we understand how much is at stake when our teens get behind the wheel. If your teen has been in an accident due to the fault of another person, click here to contact us or call 1-866-900-7078. We will evaluate your situation for FREE over the phone or online.

 

*B.R.A.K.E.S training asks for a $99 refundable deposit to hold your reservation. If you choose to leave your deposit, it becomes a donation which is tax deductible to you.

Will Workers’ Comp Pay for Additional Injuries From Overcompensation?

Oftentimes when you injure one part of your body and overcompensate for that injury it can result in another injured body part. And sometimes it can be difficult to get your workers’ comp insurance company to pay for the other injury.

Our workers’ compensation attorneys deal with this issue frequently and it is an area where we strongly urge you to enlist the help of an experienced North Carolina workers’ comp lawyer.

Here are some questions I hear frequently on this subject which I believe warrants sharing.

Will I be compensated for injuring another part of my body as a result of overcompensating for my original work injury?

The answer to this question is probably, yes.

If your workers’ compensation claim was accepted, and a new injury or condition to another body part came about by overcompensating for the original injury, every “natural and probable consequence” that comes from that original injury “arises out of employment,” and you would likely have a right to compensation. So, for example, if your authorized doctor (the one the workers’ comp carrier sent you to) says your overcompensation comes from your original injury, then you likely would have a claim to compensation for that new injury.

What does this mean for me?

If an insurance adjuster tells you they can’t provide you medical care for your new condition, we strongly urge you to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. There have been new laws passed recently that state that if a new body part was not listed on the initial acceptance form then you may now have to prove that the new injury is related to your original injury. Proving this can be very challenging. It has been my experience that some workers’ comp insurance companies will sometimes do everything in their power to try to deny or at the very least minimize the initial claim, much less an additional claim. One common example is that after a serious knee injury, some patients develop pain in the opposite knee or back due to an altered gate. Some insurance companies will sometimes deny the opposite knee or back conditions as unrelated or claim they are degenerative conditions related to age.

How do I show that my injury for overcompensating is related?

It may be necessary to hire an attorney to help you explain to the insurance company how your new medical condition is related to your original injury.

We can speak with authority on how these issues have been handled in other cases. If the adjuster doesn’t understand, or simply disagrees, it may be necessary to request relief with the NC Industrial Commission by filing a Medical Motion with the Executive Secretary’s office, which involves presenting evidence to a judge about how the new medical condition is related to your original medical condition.  Sometimes we will even have to request a full evidentiary hearing on these disputes about medical care. The most important thing you can do is get medical evidence that your new injury is related. It is key to let your doctor know about any condition that arises from overcompensation.

A doctor who treats you would need to promptly document your new condition and provide their opinion about whether the new condition is being caused by the original injury. This medical documentation is also extremely important, as this is in large part what the insurance company will rely on when deciding whether to pay for your new injury. Even with a doctor’s documentation, we have seen some insurance companies fight back in an effort to deny the new claim.

That can be frustrating having an insurance company adding insult to injury by saying your new injury is not related, when your doctor even says that it’s related! Having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you try to overcome these obstacles that injured workers’ sometimes face.

6 NC Board Certified Specialists in Workers’ Comp Law

More than half of our workers’ comp attorneys are NC Board Certified Specialists in workers’ compensation law. Of the approximately 28,000 North Carolina licensed attorneys* only 140 are North Carolina Board Certified Specialists in workers’ compensation law. Seven of them practice at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin.

What does it mean to be board certified? It means you have an attorney who shows special knowledge and proficiency in their specific area of law, having undergone additional training (and other intense analysis) to become certified as a specialist.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation from NC Workers’ Comp Lawyers

Workers’ compensation law is highly complex and the system is extremely difficult to navigate successfully on your own. That is why we urge anyone who has been injured on the job to contact us or call 1-866-900-7078 immediately after their injury. Whether it’s for the original injury or one that stemmed from overcompensation, we will try to ensure that all the necessary measures are taken to preserve your right to workers’ compensation benefits.

*Figures provided by the N.C. State Bar as of December 2016.

 

Injured While Cycling? Why You May Need Legal Protection (From Your Insurance Company)

I am an avid bicyclist. I ride trails. I cycle in triathlons. And sometimes I commute to work. I appreciate the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s efforts to build more bike-friendly roadways, such as complete streets that help promote cycling and make it potentially safer and more convenient. On the other hand, a 2014 article in the Ashville Citizen Times reported North Carolina ranks among the nation’s top 10 “most dangerous states for cyclists.” I understand why. I have seen a rise in the number of distracted drivers and this concerns me.

Rising Bicycle Accidents Put North Carolina Riders at Risk

North Carolina cyclists need to be aware of what to do in the event of a cycling accident, and how to protect both their health and their legal rights.

Protecting Your Health

The most important step an injury victim can take toward recovery is to ensure that the proper medical attention is administered as soon as the accident occurs and throughout the recovery process.

If urgent symptoms are not immediately noted, accident victims should nonetheless consult with their primary care provider just to be safe. The head of our medical review department, Naa Atsoi Adu-Antoh, urges anyone who has sustained a personal injury to have a medical evaluation to see if there are any potential issues that may be underlying. If your condition worsens over time and you have to make a medical claim, this initial documentation is largely what insurance companies use to determine the extent of your injuries.

Naa is an attorney as well as a Johns Hopkins-educated and trained nurse. She explains, “When you're in an accident there's a lot going on in your body, and sometimes you may not feel pain right away, especially with soft tissue injuries. Your body is reacting on adrenaline, and adrenaline helps keep pain away for a while."

Or maybe you're like many of us and are just too busy to go to the doctor for what you think is just a skinned and bruised knee. That skinned and bruised knee could turn into something else when you start overcompensating for it.

The longer you wait to go to the doctor about your pain, the more you could be hurting your recovery and your legal case, if you have one.

Ongoing medical care is often required after an accident. This may involve consultations with specialists, medical pain management, physical therapy, or chiropractic services. Accident victims should carefully consult with their providers to determine which specific services are right for them. Injuries which are not properly treated may tend to get worse over time.

Protecting Your Legal Rights to Claims for Damages

When officers respond to the scene of the accident, they will often take statements from everyone who was involved as well as witnesses. Give the police a concise statement including just the facts of the accident. Make sure to ask how you can obtain a copy of the police report once it has been completed. If possible, tangible evidence such as photographs, video, and audio recordings can go a long way toward trying to present the best possible evidence for your personal injury litigation. Smartphones have made it increasingly easy to take photographs and video recordings of an accident scene.

Injury victims should also be sure to document any symptoms or losses caused by the accident. These can include physical injuries – such as bruises, scars, and cuts – and should be documented to help support your personal injury claim.

And make sure to photograph and document damages to your bike, and preserve the bike if you can. Some bikes can cost thousands of dollars. Whether your bike needs to be repaired or replaced, the insurance adjuster may have little knowledge of the real value of certain bikes.

Keep a record of any time missed from work as a result of the accident to help support your claim for lost wages, if you have one.

In today’s instantaneous digital society, it is highly tempting to want to update friends with news of an accident or injury, but this can sometimes compromise your personal injury claim. We would caution you from posting any information about the accident or recovery on social media until your claim has been settled or resolved at trial. We have known some insurance companies to troll social media accounts in an effort to find any evidence they can use to try to minimize or deny your claim for damages.

Once you leave the scene of the accident, it is important to consult with a personal injury attorney as soon possible. Statements made on the scene of the accident and to an insurance representative can be used against you. So keep conversation to a minimum and stick to the facts only.

Insurance companies will contact you after an accident to obtain a recorded statement of what happened at the scene. While this is a necessary step in the investigative process, the recorded statement can sometimes be a trap for the unwary. Insurance adjusters may use the recorded statement against the claimant when it comes time to settle for monetary damages.

Your best course of action with regard to a recorded statement is to let an attorney handle it for you. Or at least we can be on a three-way call with you, so we can object to any potentially damaging questions.

NC Bicycling Accident Lawyers Offer Free Case Evaluation

If you or someone you love has been injured in a cycling accident, contact one of our bicycle accident attorneys as soon as possible. Click here to contact us right away (24/7) or call 1-866-900-7078.

 

10 Ways to Try to Prevent Rear-End Crashes in North Carolina

During my commutes to and from work every day, it never fails to amaze me just how many people drive in ways that could all too quickly end up in a rear-end car crash situation. As a personal injury lawyer, we see how people’s lives can change for the worse in one split second, just because they became a victim of a rear-end crash or other car injury.

Rear-end crashes make up almost half of the car accidents in the U.S.

According to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), out of the 6 million car accidents that happen on U.S. roads every year, over 40% of them (2.5 million) are rear-end collisions. Drivers and passengers are at risk of being severely hurt due to rear-end accidents. No one knows this better than personal injury lawyers.

We have represented hundreds of clients who have been injured – sometimes seriously – as a result of rear-end collisions. One client^, a mother, was simply driving home from work one afternoon, stopped in traffic when a distracted driver rear-ended her so hard she was ejected out of the car and killed.

Then there’s the story of Tony who was also rear-ended. He had been “living the dream” before he lost everything as a result of a distracted driver rear-ending him at a high rate of speed. Read Tony’s story here.

10 Ways to Reduce Chances of Rear-End Crashes

The prevention of rear-end accidents is the responsibility of every driver every time they get behind the wheel. Here are ten tips drivers should remember to try to reduce the chances of a rear-end accident.

  1. Don't tailgate. We all know what tailgating is and we know we should not do it. Tailgating is reckless and dangerous. It is rude. And it can often be avoided. If you tailgate and leave too short of a stopping distance, there's a very real chance you will end up hitting another car and you could be blamed for causing an accident.
  2. Check your mirrors often. Look to see what the drivers behind you are doing and if they will be able to stop in time.
  3. Leave two to three car lengths between you and the car stopped ahead of you. If someone from behind is going to crash into you, you may have enough room to push forward without rear-ending the car in front of you.
  4. Don't stop short or cut people off. When a driver slams on their brakes suddenly and unexpectedly or suddenly changes lanes or pulls in front of another vehicle, cars around them may not have time to react. This can result in a rear-end accident. Try to always be aware of cars around you and try to anticipate their moves.
  5. Go the speed limit and try to maintain a steady speed. Drivers who slow suddenly can cause a car following them to hit them.  A driver who goes too fast also faces an increased chance of hitting another motorist who is in front of his vehicle. Faster speeds mean more momentum, which results in a longer stopping distance and makes rear-end crashes more likely. These types of accidents can also result in more serious injuries.
  6. Pay careful attention at all times. All motorists need to pay careful attention to what is going on in front of them to avoid having to hit the brakes suddenly. Stay off cell phones and avoid using other distracting devices – even maps.
  7. Look a few cars ahead of you in anticipation of what may happen. If you see cars braking up ahead it gives you more time to brake and allows the car behind you to begin braking (assuming they are paying attention). If you are behind a truck stay back until you can see the driver’s face in his side mirror. If you can see his face, he can see you. And stay out of the trucker’s blind spots. Truckers have a lot of them. Directly in front of the truck (because of the long hood). Directly behind the truck. And especially on the right side of the truck. Click here for more safety tips for driving near big-rigs.
  8. Check your brake lights periodically.
  9. If you are being tailgated don’t brake to try to get them to back off. This can result in a rear-end situation and, depending on the driver’s demeanor, it could make them angry and lead to road rage. Simply try to move to another lane when safe to do so.
  10. Avoid drunk or drowsy driving. Both drunk and drowsy driving can make it harder to pay attention to what is going on with other cars and can cause delayed reaction time, which makes rear-end accidents much more likely to occur. If you have been drinking call a sober ride home service. Many in North Carolina will take you and your car home. And if you become tired while driving, stop to rest for about 20 minutes. A recent AAA Foundation  study found that one in five fatal auto accidents involved drowsy drivers. Click here for tips on what to do if you begin to feel drowsy while behind the wheel.

NC Car Crash Lawyers Offer Free Case Evaluation for Rear-End Crashes

If you were injured in a rear-end accident, contact us right away or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation.

Studies have shown that, on average, car accident victims who hired a personal injury lawyer received
3.5 times more compensation for their loss than they would have on their own*.

 

* Insurance Research Council 1999

^Client identities have been removed or changed to protect their privacy

 

Things You Should Know About Your Workers’ Compensation Case

At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, our goal is to try to provide the absolute highest quality legal representation in your workers’ compensation case. The insurance companies already know we mean business. We want to let them know that you mean business too.

While we are fighting for you against the insurance company, we also want to provide you with first-rate customer service. The philosophy of the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin is time tested – treat our clients the way we want to be treated. In a workers’ compensation case, this means keeping you informed and giving you the same quality advice that we would give our loved ones. Many of our clients think of us first when they need quality legal representation for themselves, family, and friends. We are here to serve you. And we encourage you to contact us if you have any questions whatsoever.

We know that suffering a work-related injury can be a major irritant, even in the best circumstances. At worst, it can be a life-shattering event like it was for Christopher. Click here to read his inspiring story. For exactly this reason we strive for your complete satisfaction with our firm’s representation of your case.

Here are some things you should be aware of as we proceed through your workers’ comp case:

  • You are part of your workers’ comp team. The most important part, really. Your participation is key to a potentially successful outcome of your case.
  • Please keep the lines of communication open. We will strive to do the same from our end. We will explain the facets of a workers’ compensation case. For example, how some insurance companies may troll the social media accounts of a claimant to try to find a photo, a post, or other seemingly insignificant evidence and use it to deny medical treatment compensation.
  • Keep up with your medical appointments as best you can. Informing your doctors about all of your injuries is critical. It can mean the difference between an accepted or a denied workers’ compensation case.

Others on Your James Scott Farrin Workers’ Comp Team

Any number of attorneys and paralegals who may work on your case are on your team, as well as the numerous other resources our firm offers.

Our team approach extends not only throughout the workers’ comp department, but firm-wide too. We may, for example, consult with our medical review attorney, Naa Atsoi Adu-Antoh. Naa heads our medical review team, and she is also a Johns Hopkins-educated nurse. When it comes to trying to find that needle in a haystack that can potentially move a case forward from a medical standpoint, she is an invaluable “go to” resource.

Several former defense attorneys and paralegals that worked for insurance companies. We’ve worked for the “other side,” so we know what you’re up against. We know some of their delay, deny, and defend strategies because we’ve seen it from the inside.

More than half our workers’ comp attorneys are NC Board Certified Specialists in Workers' Compensation law. This is the highest level of specialization available in North Carolina, and only a small percentage of NC attorneys can make that claim. Very small.

Two former North Carolina Industrial Commissioners. The North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) is the impartial agency that administers and enforces workers' compensation laws.

A former North Carolina state senator. He was elected to serve the seventh district of North Carolina for four terms.

Several recognized experts in workers’ compensation law. Several of our attorneys have more than 10 years of experience. Some speak at seminars for other workers’ compensation attorneys. Others have written books about various areas of law, and two have collected several coveted awards for workers’ compensation, including “Best Lawyer1” and “Rising Star2.” One was named “Super Lawyer3” three times and “Lawyer of the Year4” for Raleigh twice.

Attorneys who give back. Attorneys who join our side do it because they want to be advocates. This takes a certain mindset and special heart for service. And service to others is not something we take lightly. Of our 13 workers' comp attorneys, 12 are members of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of legal representation in our state. Many are very active members in their communities – from teaching at local colleges, to counseling the Spanish-speaking community. Serving others is in the DNA of our firm’s culture.

While each workers’ compensation case carries its own unique set of facts and circumstances, the evolutionary process is similar. It can best be described by examining the distinct phases of our process.

The Investigation Phase

The initial phase is one of administration and investigation. This is when we begin to build your case by collecting information such as the NCIC incident reports, reports created by the insurance company’s case managers and adjusters, and in some cases, photographs of your injuries. During this phase, we are gathering information about your accident or injury that is critical for us to try to achieve success.

The Medical Treatment Phase

Next is the medical treatment phase, often called the “healing period.” This is perhaps the source of most frustration for clients. It’s the time when you will be receiving medical treatment for the injuries you sustained. The healing process can be a lengthy one. Patience is more than a virtue – it is a necessity during this phase. You will likely will be assigned a rehabilitation nurse case manager by the insurance company, and we will monitor the medical providers and the rehabilitation nurse to try to ensure that you receive the best treatment possible. The rehabilitation nurse is hired by the insurance company as an overseer, a case manager, or coordinator. These nurses do not work for you, yet they often go with you to your medical appointments and report back to the insurance company. Read more about their role here.

You will eventually reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), which is the end of the healing period. At that point your medical provider will assign you a disability rating and likely release you from treatment. Unless you have specifically requested otherwise, we will not begin to negotiate with the insurance company until you reach this point of your case. Before you reach MMI, we don’t know the extent of your permanent injuries, the permanent work restrictions you may have, and any future medical treatment you might need. Moreover, this is often the best time to seek a second opinion evaluation with a doctor who has not been hand-picked by the insurance company.

The Negotiation Phase

This phase is when we begin the process of resolving your case. Before we can begin negotiations with the insurance company, we make sure we have all of the necessary information:

  • Your disability rating
  • Your permanent physical limitations and work restrictions
  • The future medical treatment you will need as a direct result of your workplace injuries
  • Wage information – including overtime and bonuses – to try to ensure that you are receiving every penny of compensation to which you are entitled

When we have gathered the necessary information, we will perform a thorough and careful evaluation to determine what we believe is the settlement value of your case. We will then call or meet with you to discuss the case value and ensure that all of your questions are answered. During that meeting, we will ask for your authority to submit a settlement demand to the insurance company.

The next step is actual negotiations with the insurance company or their attorney. This is sometimes done informally, but often takes place during a mediated settlement conference. Our clients attend and participate in these conferences. The pledge we make at this stage of your case is to use all our skills and experience to try to negotiate the best possible settlement for you and to help you make the best decision for you and your family.

The North Carolina Industrial Commission must approve all settlements. As such, if your case settles, it can take up to four to six weeks for your settlement check to arrive after the settlement has been reached. We try to shorten this period. We know that this money is critical for your future, and we work hard to try to make sure the settlement is paid expeditiously.

We have many people working behind the scenes on your case. We have dedicated, experienced, and caring professionals at every level working to ensure that we handle your case in a thorough, professional, and timely manner.

NC Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Offer FREE Case Evaluation

We hope this will give you some insight into your James Scott Farrin workers’ compensation team and what you might expect from us. We strive for your total satisfaction as you try to heal, return to work if you are able, and get on with your life.

If you have been injured on the job, contact us or call 1-866-900-7078. Your consultation is free.

 

1 Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey. For the 24th edition of The Best Lawyers in America (2018) more than 58,000 leading attorneys cast more than 7.4 million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel Magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.” For more information regarding the standards for inclusion, visit www.bestlawyers.com.

2 Published by Super Lawyers. To be eligible for inclusion in “Rising Stars,” a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less. “Rising Stars” undergo a rigorous, multiphase process which combines peer nominations with third-party research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made annually on a state by state basis. While up to 5% of the lawyers in any state are named “Super Lawyers,” by Super Lawyers magazine, no more than 2.5% are named to the “Rising Stars” list. For more information regarding the standards for inclusion, visit www.superlawyers.com.

3 Published by Super Lawyers. “Super Lawyers” undergo a rigorous, multiphase process which combines peer nominations with third-party research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made annually on a state-by-state basis. For more information regarding the standards for inclusion, visit www.superlawyers.com.

4 Only a single lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan area is honored as the “Lawyer of the Year,” making this accolade particularly significant. Lawyers being honored as “Lawyer of the Year” are selected based on particularly impressive voting averages received during the exhaustive peer-review assessments conducted with thousands of leading lawyers each year. Receiving this designation reflects the high level of respect a lawyer has earned among other leading lawyers in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism, and their integrity. For more information on the rules of inclusion visit www.bestlawyers.com.

Overwhelmed by the Social Security Disability Process? We May be Able to Help

By Rick Fleming

When it comes to applying for Social Security Disability benefits, you have two options. You can apply yourself or you can apply with the help of a Social Security Disability lawyer.

More than two-thirds of those who file for Social Security Disability the first time are denied, according to the Social Security Administration. And 88% are denied a second time. That is just one (or two) good reasons to consider hiring an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer. We cannot light a fire under the government, but we can try to do everything possible to make sure your case is solid and keep it moving forward.

Here are more good reasons to consider a James Scott Farrin Social Security Disability lawyer to help you make a claim for benefits.

Inside Experience at Social Security Disability

The majority of the people who work in our Social Security Disability department used to work for the Social Security Administration where initial applications are accepted or denied.

We can tell you from firsthand experience, you cannot be over prepared when it c

omes to having your paperwork in order and when preparing for your interview.

Our inside experience is helpful in when it comes to navigating the system, including:

  • What the Social Security disability examiners look for to approve a claim
  • The importance of filing the correct forms, filling them out correctly, and meeting demanding and unwavering deadlines
  • What medical records you need to produce – and which ones not to produce

The paperwork alone can be overwhelming for one person, and your peace of mind is high on our priority list. Not only can we help you complete all the required forms correctly, process them on time, and in the manner in which Social Security Disability requires, but we can also follow up in a timely manner and try to keep the process moving forward. Moving forward is key. The current wait time for Social Security Disability hearings in North Carolina is between 19 and 21 months.

We can also help obtain your medical records so that if your case goes to hearing, we know we've tried to do everything possible to make sure your information will not be denied because of a technicality, for example.

We will make sure we ask you about all the personal and financial information the administration will want to know, like your living arrangements, income (including that of your spouse) and value of your assets and investments.

We will make sure you are kept up-to-date and contacted as necessary for added peace of mind.

We will be your advocate in every way possible. But there is one very important t

hing we cannot do for you, and so we ask each and every client to:

Keep your medical appointments.

We cannot tell you how many cases have been denied because people who say they are disabled do not keep their medical appointments. Without medical documentation of your disability, there is simply not enough medical evidence to support a disability claim.

With an experienced team by your side, you may be able to avoid the nuisance of meeting deadlines and constantly calling doctors and disability government offices. On top of trying to get the benefits you may need to survive, you are also recovering and rehabbing from an injury or illness. With our Social Security Disability team handling the paperwork and our paralegals and lawyers staying on top of the legal issues, you can focus on managing other areas of your life like trying to heal.

Attorney Fees – Capped by the U.S. Government

The federal government has capped the contingency fees of Social Security Disability lawyers to make legal assistance more affordable and within reach for those who are struggling financially and unable to work.

The contingency fee for Social Security Disability clients is limited to 25% of back-due benefits, or $6,000, whichever is less.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation From NC Social Security Disability Lawyers

Of all the attorneys licensed in NC, fewer than 1%* are Board Certified Specialists in Social Security Disability law. I am one of them. I also chair the N.C. State Bar's Social Security Disability Law Specialty Committee and I lead the committee charged with writing and grading examinations for attorneys who wish to specialize in Social Security Disability law. You could say I live, eat, breath, and sleep Social Security Disability law.

If you or your family have questions about the Social Security Disability process or if you are overwhelmed by the paperwork and the application process, contact us or call 1-866-900-7078. We will give you a free case evaluation and let you know if we can help you try to obtain the Social Security Disability benefits you potentially need.

*Percentage as of December 31, 2016. Figures provided by the N.C. State Bar as of December 31, 2016

Will My Health Insurance Continue if I File for Workers’ Comp?

By Ali Overby

Many people wonder how filing a workers’ compensation claim might affect their employment status and their benefits – especially their health insurance.

It’s important to understand that your employment relationship with your employer should remain the same even though you have filed a workers’ compensation claim for an on-the-job injury. Although you are pursuing a claim, you are still an employee of this employer and you should continue to receive benefits just as you always have. You should pay the same health insurance premiums, if any, that you are normally required to. Your employer should continue to pay their portion of your health insurance as they have been doing.

What Happens if I Go Out of Work Receiving Workers’ Compensation Checks?

If your authorized treating provider writes you entirely out of work or your employer is unable to accommodate your work restrictions, you will be placed out of work. You will stop receiving your regular paycheck and you should begin receiving weekly workers’ compensation checks from the workers’ compensation insurance company that services your employer.

This is called temporary total disability or TTD. Your TTD payments are two-thirds of your average weekly wage for the 52 weeks prior to your work injury. While you are out on TTD it is important to talk to your employer about how to maintain your health insurance coverage.

If you usually contribute to your health insurance premium through payroll deduction, your employer may not automatically notify you that you need to continue making these contributions to maintain your health insurance.

Do not assume your regular health insurance contributions are coming out of your TTD check!

If your employer continues to make health insurance payments for you, but you are not making your usual contributions, your health insurance may end up being cancelled before you ever realize you owe anything. Talk to your employer, and find out if you need to send in a check each pay period to keep your health insurance coverage current.

What Happens to My Health Insurance if I’m Fired?

Unfortunately, you can still be fired by your employer even if you have an open workers’ compensation case. If you are terminated, you can expect your health insurance benefits to end the same way that they would for any terminated employee.

You have the option of temporarily continuing your health insurance under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). Your health plan administrator must give you a notice stating your right to choose to continue benefits provided by the plan. You then have 60 days to accept coverage or lose all rights to those benefits.

If you elect to continue coverage through COBRA you will have to pay the full cost of the coverage plus a 2% administrative charge. If your employer was paying the bulk of your health insurance expense before your termination you can expect that health insurance through COBRA will likely be much more expensive than you are used to.

COBRA generally applies to all group health plans maintained by private sector employers (with at least 20 full-time employees) or by state and local governments. If you work for an employer that has fewer than 20 full-time employees, North Carolina has a state continuation program similar to COBRA. Either way, you may want to shop around and consider other insurance companies to find your best options for obtaining private insurance.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation from NC Workers’ Comp Attorneys

If you are concerned that your employment status or your right to health insurance benefits may have been unduly affected by your workers’ compensation case, contact one of our workers’ compensation lawyers right away. There is a lot at stake, and if you are trying to negotiate on your own against a big powerful insurance company, you are likely at a huge disadvantage.

There is no charge to call us for an initial case evaluation. It is completely FREE to you.

Click here to contact us or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation.

P.S. Think you can’t afford a James Scott Farrin workers’ comp attorney? Click here to see why you can.

Categories: Insurance Coverage

What is a Functional Capacity Evaluation and why is it so important?

By Susan Vanderweert

Your doctor is generally responsible for releasing you back to work when your medical treatment has concluded. To avoid liability and the risk of further injury, a medical release is usually required before you return to work. If your injury was minor and your recovery was complete, it may be relatively easy for the doctor to determine that you are capable of returning to your former job. However, in many cases, it is more complicated to determine just exactly how much work an employee is capable of doing.

Sometimes the doctor will feel comfortable assigning work restrictions based on their own opinion about your physical ability. Often, though, especially with more serious or complicated injuries, doctors prefer to base your work restrictions on a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE), which is supposed to be based more on science and facts than thoughts or opinions. In those cases, your doctor may refer you for an FCE.

An FCE will help your doctor determine:

  • When it is physically safe for you to return to work
  • When you are physically able to do the same job you did before you got injured
  • How much physical effort you can safely perform at work without reinjuring yourself

What Does a Functional Capacity Evaluation Check For?

FCEs are performed by a physical therapist or occupational therapist. The tests generally last for several hours and involve a number of physical challenges, such as repetitive lifting, bending, walking, and stair climbing. These tests are intended to measure your exact physical strengths and weaknesses and compare them to the actual requirements of your job.

How Some Providers Have Used the FCE Against Injured Workers

Often we have come up against situations where some insurance companies have used FCEs as weapons instead of useful tools in their efforts to try to:

  • Convince the doctor that our clients were faking or exaggerating their injury
  • Send clients back to a job that was too physical for them to handle
  • Release our client from treatment before they were physically ready

When the manager of an injured truck driver tried to get him to go back to work before he felt ready, he asked for a second opinion. That’s when things got ugly and he contacted us. Read Christopher’s story here.

Unfortunately, not all FCEs are created equal. FCE standards vary from provider to provider. Some FCE tests are more accurate than others at measuring a person’s capacity for actual work over an eight- to 10-hour work day. Some FCE tests are not based on scientific standardized methods.  FCEs are not always fair, nor are some FCE providers necessarily unbiased.

Truth be told, we have firsthand knowledge that some FCEs have been intentionally manipulated by a small number of FCE providers for the purpose of denying the injured worker continued workers’ compensation benefits.  The majority of FCE providers that we have seen do attempt to do a fair and reasonable job for their patients. However, it is the small number of unfair FCE providers that can be used as weapons by workers’ compensation insurance companies to try to maximize their profits and deny benefits to injured workers.

Manipulated Tests and Provider Notes

For example, we have seen one FCE provider consistently instruct injured workers to stop the test and take a rest break. Then that provider would write in the evaluation that the person did not give full effort on the test. Another FCE provider has regularly reported that injured workers had been faking or exaggerating their injuries, when other FCE providers and physicians have reached contrary conclusions for the same workers.

On the other hand, the Catch-22 is that if you put too much effort into your FCE test when you are pushed by the FCE provider, you could reinjure yourself.

You can see that, like Christopher, your doctor may rely on the FCE test to release you to return to work before you are ready or without the proper restrictions. At James Scott Farrin, we know who the more trustworthy and reputable FCE providers are and, on the other hand, the ones who may not have your best interests in mind and who may be more interested in results that please the workers’ compensation insurance companies. For these reasons, it is very important to contact the professional team at James Scott Farrin as soon as possible, and be aware of these issues when your doctor starts talking about releasing you from treatment or returning you to work.

How You Can Help Your Case

Remember that your employer and their insurance company may want to get you back to work as soon as possible. Even if it means getting you back to work before you are physically ready. And remember too, your doctor may not necessarily know exactly what your job requires of you physically or understand the laws of workers’ compensation about returning to work.  For example, some doctors may assume that, if an injured worker cannot perform a job after a trial return to work attempt, then workers’ compensation insurance companies will be perfectly willing to restart workers’ compensation checks. That assumption is very frequently inaccurate.

To protect your own interests, it is best to get a written description of your job functions and discuss it with your doctor in detail. If you are having physical issues or taking medications that will keep you from being able to safely perform your job, you need to let your doctor know. Also tell your doctor if your physical issues on the job could create a danger to other co-workers or the public.  No one knows as well as you the physical requirements and dangers of your job.

7 NC Board Certified Specialists in Workers’ Comp Law

More than half of our workers’ comp attorneys are NC Board Certified in workers’ compensation law. Of the approximately 28,000 North Carolina licensed attorneys* only 140 are North Carolina Board Certified Specialists in workers’ compensation law. Seven of them practice right here at our firm.

What does it mean to be board certified? It means you have an attorney who shows special knowledge and proficiency in their specific area of law, having undergone additional training (and other intense analysis) to become certified as a specialist.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation from NC Workers’ Comp Lawyers

We believe in caution and prudence. And there is a lot to know about workers’ compensation law and the system is extremely difficult to navigate successfully on your own.

That is why we urge anyone who has been injured on the job to contact us or call 1-866-900-7078 immediately after their injury. We will try to ensure that all the necessary measures are taken to preserve your right to workers’ compensation benefits and hopefully help you find medical providers who have your best interests in mind.

*  Figures provided by the N.C. State Bar as of December 31, 2016.

What If I'm Injured While Driving on the Job?

By Barry Jennings

The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin regularly handles cases for people who are injured in accidents where the injured person can pursue both a personal injury negligence claim and a workers’ compensation claim.

Injured While Driving on the Job

Typically what we might see while someone is driving for work are auto or truck accidents.  For instance, I have represented sales people who have been injured in a car accident while traveling from one sales call to the next. In those circumstances, the individual would likely have both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim against the individual that caused the wreck.

Other Workers’ Comp and Personal Injury Claims

Other types of accidents can also result in two claims being pursued at the same time. These might include construction accidents, accidents with faulty equipment, and other types of accidents that occur when someone acts unreasonably and causes a person to be injured.

It is important to consider legal representation if you are injured in an accident where two separate parties may be responsible for paying your damages. Things can get very complicated very fast because of the many entities involved. If you try to handle your claims without legal help, it can result in one party taking advantage of the other party’s payment of benefits, potentially causing you to receive less than the maximum you may be due by law.

How Do I Pursue a Workers’ Comp and Personal Injury Claim at Once?

Generally speaking, when an accident occurs which is the fault of another individual, and that accident occurs when the injured person is working, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier is responsible for payment of medical expenses and wage replacement while the injured person is unable to work.  Typically (hopefully), the workers’ compensation insurance carrier begins paying benefits immediately. That is one of the significant benefits of filing a workers’ compensation claim.

The individual or other party that caused the injury will not normally begin paying any sort of damage at the beginning of the claim. Instead, that claim would be pursued separately while the workers’ compensation claim is moving forward. Then, once the injured person’s medical treatment stabilizes and their future medical treatment needs become clearer, it may then be appropriate to pursue payment of damages from the party that caused the injury.

When pursuing these types of claims, it is very important to consider how the workers’ compensation payment of benefits affects the other party’s responsibility for payment of benefits. In most cases, the payment of benefits by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier will be evidence of the injured person’s damages and used to try to prove that injured person’s case against the negligent party.

However, the workers’ compensation insurer will have a legal right to seek repayment from the negligent party. If the resolution or settlement of these claims is not coordinated for the benefit of the injured person, then the injured person could lose substantial potential damages.

As you can see, these types of cases can become very complex very fast and there are a lot of moving parts and changing scenarios that need continual monitoring.

James Scott Farrin Personal Injury Lawyers

We often work with our personal injury lawyers in a collaborative effort to try to ensure our clients get the maximum they are potentially due for their damages under the law.

Our personal injury attorneys fight for you inside and outside the courtroom. They have won awards and have been recognized for community, civic, and legal advocacy in many settings, including the North Carolina Advocates for Justice (NCAJ), a state-wide legal advocacy group.

Every year since 2006 one of our personal injury attorneys has achieved the designation of “Super Lawyer” by North Carolina Super Lawyers Magazine*, and since 2008, Best Lawyers in America’s* “Best Lawyer.” In 2016 that same attorney also achieved Best Lawyers in America’s* “Lawyer of the Year” designation for the Raleigh area, and Business North Carolina’s*Legal Elite in 2015.

One of our attorneys is the author of a number of published legal articles and helped write a part of the North Carolina Personal Injury Liens Manual. Many have spoken at seminars for legal and advocacy organizations, and one is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.

We also have an attorney who is a Johns Hopkins-educated and trained registered nurse. She leads our medical review team – uniquely valuable in many tough cases.

Our legal expertise has been sought for coverage in the media for both English and Spanish-speaking outlets.

With roughly one million Hispanic/Latinos in North Carolina, we think it’s important to have attorneys, paralegals, and administrators on staff who are bilingual. We have over 30 bilingual staff that help serve our Hispanic/Latino community.

James Scott Farrin Workers’ Comp Attorneys

Best Lawyers 2018 badgeOur firm was named one of the “Best Law Firms” for workers’ compensation by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® for the greater Raleigh area* in 2018.

That doesn’t happen by accident. So who’s on this team?

  • Former defense attorneys and paralegals for insurance companies who have worked inside the insurance companies (they know what you’re up against).
  • More than half our workers’ comp attorneys are NC Board Certified Specialists in Workers' Compensation law. This is a NC State Bar certification denoting a high level of proficiency in a particular practice area, and less than 4% of licensed NC attorneys can make that claim**.
  • We have two former North Carolina Industrial Commissioners. The North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) is the impartial agency that administers and enforces workers' compensation laws.
  • We have a former North Carolina State Senator who was elected to serve four terms. He also helped write some of North Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws.
  • Many of our attorneys have been acknowledged by colleagues and peers. They are often asked to speak at seminars for other workers’ compensation attorneys. Others are accomplished authors of scholarly articles and two have received coveted awards for workers’ compensation, including Best Lawyers “Best Lawyer*” and NC Super Lawyers Magazine’s “Rising Star*.” One was named NC Super Lawyers Magazine’s “Super Lawyer*” three times and Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year*” for Raleigh twice.
  • Our attorneys are givers and champions of the underdog. Many of them join our side because they are advocates for those without a voice. And that is often the injured worker. Of our 13 workers’ comp attorneys, 12 are members of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of legal representation in our state. Many are active members in their communities – from teaching at local colleges, to counseling the Hispanic/Latino community.

NC Lawyers Offer FREE Case Evaluation

All of our attorneys are advocates dedicated to fighting tooth and nail for each and every client.

It is almost always a good idea to speak with us about your circumstances, especially in a situation that involves both workers’ comp and personal injury. Contact us today or call 1-866-900-7078 to learn how working with both a workers’ compensation lawyer and a personal injury lawyer from the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin could potentially benefit you.

 

* For more information regarding the standards for inclusion for “Best Law Firms,” visit www.usnews.com; “Best Lawyers” and “Lawyer of the Year,” visit www.bestlawyers.com; “Rising Star” and “Super Lawyers,” visit www.superlawyers.com; “Legal Elite” visit www.businessnc.com.

** Figures from the N.C. State Bar as of December 2016.

Contact Information

Raleigh Law Office

4325 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27607
Phone: 919-834-1184
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Durham Law Office

280 South Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-688-4991
Fax: 800-716-7881

Fayetteville Law Office

517 Owen Drive
Fayetteville, NC 28304
Phone: 910-488-0611
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Charlotte Law Office

1001 Morehead Square Drive, Suite 350
Charlotte, NC 28203
Phone: 704-599-1078
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

New Bern Law Office

1505 South Glenburnie Rd, Unit P
New Bern, NC 28562
Phone: 252-634-9010
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3422

Greenville Law Office

702 G Cromwell Dr.
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-355-5205
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3227

Greensboro Law Office

300 N. Greene Street, Suite 850
Greensboro, North Carolina 27401
Phone: 336-665-7072
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Goldsboro Law Office

214 South William Street, Suite 3
Goldsboro, NC 27530
Phone: (919)-731-2581
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Henderson Law Office

514 Dabney Drive, Suite 200
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-492-4600
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Roanoke Rapids Law Office

709 Julian R. Allsbrook Highway
Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870
Phone: 252-537-9670
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Rocky Mount Law Office

3202 Sunset Avenue, Suite B
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Phone: 252-937-4730
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Sanford Law Office

703-B South Horner Boulevard
Sanford, NC 27330
Phone: 919-775-1564
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Wilson Law Office

2315 Airport Blvd Suite A
Wilson, North Carolina 27896
Phone: 252-246-9090
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Winston-Salem Law Office

301 N. Main Street, Suite 2409-C
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078