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Workers’ Compensation Archives

Assault, Harassment, and the Power of Speaking Up

Lacy Headshot.pngAs more people come forward with accounts of sexual assault and harassment, it is important to reflect on the weight of these accusations and the culture surrounding us. This culture - one where a person cannot even function in a professional setting without the risk of feeling violated or harassed - is completely unacceptable. This behavior should be recognized, analyzed, and retributed. However, speaking up isn't easy. 

Can I get fired if I file a workers' compensation claim?

For many people who are injured at work, their biggest concern is holding on to their job. Many employers discourage injured employees from filing claims for workers compensation benefits, sometimes by actually telling a hurt employee not to file a claim and to just use their own health insurance. Other times, employers let it generally be known throughout the workplace that a worker who files a claim can make themselves a target for termination down the line. The good news is that North Carolina has laws specifically designed to protect injured workers who file workers' compensation claims from retaliation by their employers. Can you be fired for filing a claim? The short answer is "no."

Don't let social media damage your workers' compensation claim

These days, if you want to learn about a person's life or who they are, the first place to go is often that person's social media accounts. Photos, comments, and even places where we have been can all be open to public view. We can have some control over what information about us we make "public," but not always. If you are involved in a workers' compensation claim, rest assured that social media is one of the first places the insurance company evaluating your claim is going to look to try and find an excuse not to pay you the benefits you need. We know that Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and other social media platforms don't tell the whole story of our lives, and are only a "snapshot." Those snapshots are typically of moments when we are in a good place and feeling well - who posts pictures of themselves struggling to get groceries out of the car or of the look on a child's face when a parent can't play catch because the pain is too much? On the other hand, a picture of you smiling at a friend's birthday party at a restaurant or of you on a beach vacation with family can be just the "evidence" an insurance company is looking for to claim that you are not really hurt, or that you are capable of doing more than you really are. It won't matter that the only time you were smiling at the birthday party was for the picture and you were in pain the whole time, or that you spent most of the "vacation" alone in the hotel room while your family had to go have fun without you.

How could workforce aging affect workers' comp claims?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released its 2017 career outlook report and found that workers aged 65 and older are remaining on the job longer. As a matter of fact, they're expected to continue growing as a percentage of the workforce through 2024. In contrast, the percentage of workers between the ages of 25 and 54 is expected to grow at a much slower rate.

I have a workers' compensation claim. Can they force me to come back to work?

It's your body, and you are the only one who knows what it feels like.  Just because your employer, or even a doctor, says that you are ready to return to work, doesn't always mean that you are.  Sometimes, doctors can get it wrong just like the rest of us.

Workers' compensation claim denied - now what?

We get the question all the time - "If I was hurt at work, how can they deny my claim?"  The answer is that the insurance company can choose to deny your claim for any reason, or no reason at all.  Often, we see insurance companies quickly deny a claim in the hopes that an injured worker who is unfamiliar with the process won't know that a denial is not the end of the road for their claim.  For us, it's often where a case begins. 

Should I accept a settlement offer from the workers' compensation insurance company?

If you have recently been injured in a workplace accident, you have probably been speaking with an employee of an insurance company called an adjuster.  In most cases, you will not be dealing directly with your employer.  Most companies purchase workers' compensation insurance just like you and I purchase our car insurance, and for the same reason: if something bad happens and money needs to be paid, it won't have to come directly out of our pockets -- the insurance company takes care of it.

Workers' compensation is there for your benefit

Normally, when you file for workers' compensation, you do so knowing that you cannot take your employer to court. In exchange for not going to court, workers' compensation provides you with benefits like compensation for lost wages and medical payments. Most employees have workers' compensation coverage automatically, which means your employer is unable to be sued. That doesn't mean you can't file a civil lawsuit against someone, though, if a third-party caused your injuries.

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