People often ask me whether it's possible to handle a workers' compensation case without an attorney. My response is almost always the same. Sure, but I probably wouldn't recommend it.
Even minor workplace injuries can get complicated...fast.
If you're injured on the job, your employer's workers' compensation insurance should investigate (and hopefully cover) your claim. The North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act sets forth the procedures they must follow and the benefits you may be entitled to receive.
Sounds simple, right? Not necessarily.
NC Workers' Comp Laws Can Be Complex and Confusing
The NC Workers' Compensation Act is a long, complex compilation of legal rules and procedures that apply to work-related injuries and occupational diseases. The nuances of handling a workers' comp claim would fill a large book - in fact, there are already many books large and small trying to properly explain workers' comp. (Ours, for example!) Even if you have some legal experience, sorting through the information can get pretty confusing.
North Carolina workers' comp laws require injured workers to follow meticulous steps, file specific forms, and comply with various deadlines. If you fail to meet any of these requirements, you could miss out on potential benefits or even lose your right to pursue your case.
NC Workers' Comp Cases - More Questions Than Answers
Although some workers' compensation cases may seem simple and straightforward on the surface, things can get rocky in no time. Consider this hypothetical scenario:
Day #1. You sustain an injury on the job and, as required, report it immediately to your employer.
Day #2. You receive a call from a workers' compensation insurance adjuster who informs you that your claim has been accepted. (Woo-hoo!)
Day #3. You are instructed to go to an occupational health clinic for medical treatment.
So far, so good. Everything is going smoothly...right?
But what happens if the doctor refuses to treat you or if you disagree with that doctor's diagnosis or treatment plan? Can you get a second opinion? What if you're unable to return to work? Will the insurance company pay you for your missed time? If so, how will they determine the amount of your weekly checks and how long will those checks last?
Get Help From a NC Workers' Comp Attorney
A seasoned North Carolina workers' compensation attorney can try to answer all these questions for you. And more. Our job is to help you navigate this often scary and confusing process as quickly and painlessly as possible.
At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, our job doesn't begin and end there. There is no checklist of things to do or not do. We try to do what needs to be done. Helping our clients is not just about trying to get them benefits. It's also about being merciful and kind during an unpleasant time in their lives.
Our firm had one particular client who was facing difficulties with his case and was going through a hard time as the consequence of his injuries. Several people at the firm spent a lot of time "counseling" him on the phone. He tried to take his own life, and it took a lot of people to help him get through that. Our firm did all we could to make sure he was getting the care he needed. We had people counseling our employees involved in this case, on how to counsel the client. Last we heard he was doing really well1.
This is just one example of many stories where our firm has been able to help our clients beyond a settlement check1.
While hiring a lawyer may seem like a daunting task (even we know that!), hiring one can potentially make a huge difference in terms of the benefits you may ultimately receive.
Still not convinced? That's OK!
How to Handle Your Own Workers' Comp Case
If you decide to start out on your own and see how far you can get, make sure you do your research and ask plenty of questions along the way. Click here for our booklet designed to help you try to take control of your own workers' comp claim.
Get a FREE Evaluation From NC Workers' Comp Lawyers
If the going gets tough, feel free to reach out to me - or any of our other workers' comp attorneys. Six are NC Board Certified in workers' compensation law. And in 2016 our firm received the highest ranking possible by U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" for workers' compensation law in the greater Raleigh area2.
We'll let you know, based on our experience, if we think your specific situation warrants legal help - sometimes, in minor injuries, there's no need to involve a lawyer. So click here for a free case evaluation or call us today at 1-866-900-7078.
1 Cases or matters referenced do not represent the law firm's entire record. Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. The outcome of a particular case cannot be predicated upon a lawyer's or a law firm's past results. These descriptions of events are based upon the recollections of individual staff members. Client identity has been removed or changed to protect their privacy.
2 Visit http://bestlawfirms.usnews.com for more information about criteria for inclusion.