Did you know that any workplace injury that takes place while you are on the clock and following your employer’s instructions is eligible for workers compensation benefits? You would be surprised how many injured employees do not contact a workers compensation attorney in Greenville because they were told that they were at fault for their accident or that they are not covered by workers’ comp because they are part-time workers. These are workers compensation myths, spread and encouraged by insurance companies.
The internet helps them in spreading false information; we will also use it to spread the truth. Our attorneys collected the most common workers compensation myths, and we will set the record straight. We believe that every injured worker should be able to recover and receive compensation for their medical costs and lost wages.
Then, they will be able to return to their job and continue being an active and productive person. It almost seems like employers and insurers do not want this to happen, since they fight workers’ comp claims with such determination – even crossing the line of truth and law.
These Are the Most Common North Carolina Workers Compensation Myths
Here are some of the deliberately false things injured workers get told by their employers or by insurance adjusters. Every time you hear each of these, know that it is not true and you should schedule a free case review with an experienced workers compensation attorney in Greenville:
1. We Are a Small Business and Do Not Have to Provide Workers Compensation
This is one of the most frequent workers compensation myths employees hear as soon as they report a workplace injury to their employer. The reality is that, according to North Carolina Industrial Commission regulations, all employers who have at least three (3) employees must carry workers compensation coverage.
If your employer truly does not carry this type of coverage, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against them. Apart from losing the “exclusive remedy” protection offered by the workers compensation scheme, your employer will also face serious criminal consequences:
- Stiff financial penalties
- Being charged with a misdemeanor or a felony
- Being imprisoned.
Employers know that. Thus, most of them do have the coverage, but will try to persuade you otherwise if they believe they can get away with it.
2. Your Employer Will File All the Necessary Documents on Your Behalf
This is one of the workers compensation myths that arose out of the fact that each party – employer and employee – must file a report with the NC Industrial Commission. The employer has to file Form 19, which reports the incident, but does nothing to help with your claims process.
The injured employer must also file a document – Form 18. This is the standard Notice of Accident to Employer and Claim of Employee, Representative, or Dependent. Observe the wording of this document – this is the first step in any valid workers comp claim in North Carolina and must be submitted to the Industrial Commission within 30 days after your accident.
3. I Can Claim Pain and Suffering in My Workers Comp Claim
Unfortunately, this is one of the workers compensation myths which employees created out of confusion. The workers comp scheme is not exactly the same as a personal injury claim when it comes to the types of damages you can get compensated for.
The workers comp benefits will cover just two types of economic damages:
- Medical care costs
- Lost wages – you will receive 2/3 of your weekly wage, not the full amount.
No other damages, such as non-economic damages for pain and suffering, are acceptable. And, as long as your employer has valid workers compensation coverage, you generally do not have the option of filing a separate lawsuit. This is possible only in the very rare cases when you can prove that your employer acted with malice and willful intent in causing your workplace injuries.
4. The Employer Says that You Were at Fault, So You Cannot File a Claim
Workers compensation claims are not covered by the at-fault principle applicable to personal injury cases. There is not need to prove:
- The existence of a duty of care
- The breach of duty
- The other party’s degree of fault was greater than yours
- You suffered injuries and economic damages because of the workplace accident.
You simply must show that you were on the clock and suffered the accident in the course of doing your job. Even if it is obvious that you were 100% negligent and at fault for your accident, you can still file a workers comp claim.
The part that is not one of the workers compensation myths is the obligation to prove that you were on the clock. If you suffered the accident during your lunch break or while you were commuting to or from work, then you are not covered by workers’ comp.
5. You Are a Part-Time Worker, So You Do Not Qualify for Workers’ Comp
Finally, your employer may claim that since you are a part-time worker, you are not eligible to file a claim. This is yet another of the many workers compensation myths you will keep hearing.
The simple fact is that if you are an employee and your job is covered by the worker’s comp scheme, then you have the right to get benefits if you were injured on the job. Of course, as a result of being a part-time worker, your replacement wages will be 2/3 of the actual wages you collect.
Also, if you are also working another job, you are not entitled to get benefits representing 2/3 of the wages you collect from the other employer – since you were not on the job for them when you were injured.
Stop Believing Myths and Bring Your Case to an Experienced Workers Comp Law Firm
The only person you should trust when it comes to your rights is a Greenville workers’ compensation attorney. We know the law and have arguments against all the workers compensation myths and claims your employer may make.
If you have a valid claim, we will see that you get the benefits you deserve until the doctor says you are fit to go back to work. And we can also find solutions if you believe that you are not fully healed and the doctor just does your employer’s bidding.
But the only way of knowing if you have the right to file a workers comp claim is by coming to us and letting us evaluate your case. We encourage you to schedule a free case review as soon as possible after your workplace accident by calling 919-328-2336!