No matter what line of work you are in, thousands of North Carolinians are injured every day on the job. If you are injured on the job you need to report your injury as soon as possible to your supervisor including how, when, and where the injury happened. If there was anyone who saw your injury, it is important to write down their name and contact information. Upon reporting this information to your employer, you may be eligible to receive worker’s compensation, including payment of your medical bills. However, what do you do if your workers comp claim is denied by the employer’s insurance company? Here are some steps to take:
1. You should immediately contact a workers compensation attorney. Workers compensation laws in North Carolina are extremely complex, and there are very important Statutes of Limitations (deadlines for filing claims or other legal paperwork), that make this step extremely urgent. We have offices in Asheville, Charlotte, and Gastonia with workers comp lawyers standing by to speak with you.
2. If your workers comp claim is denied, you should be very careful about anything you say to co-workers, supervisors, managers, or anyone else at work. Even if you are not specifically talking about the actual incident of the work related accident, your words can be very damaging. For example, if you tell someone at work that you ran a half-marathon over the weekend (and you are only 5 days removed from a work related accident which hurt your ankle), that might be used as evidence that your ankle injury was not serious.
3. Do not give a recorded statement to the insurance company without legal counsel present. Insurance adjusters trained to take recorded statements are professionals whose job it is to minimize your injuries, show they are not work related, and generally deny your claim. Make sure to have a workers compensation attorney present so that you don’t leave out important facts or details about the accident or the extent of your injuries.
4. Gather evidence. Do not assume that evidence will be preserved by your employer or its insurance company. Helpful evidence can include:
- Any letters or correspondence from the insurance company or your employer related to the accident;
- Photographs of the accident scene;
- Witness statements from anyone who witnessed the accident;
- Reports of the accident done by someone at work, such as the human resources manager, supervisor on duty, etc.;
- Medical records;
- Financial records, such as check stubs and W-2 forms; and
- Copies of your employment file.
Other evidence may also be appropriate. Your workers compensation attorney should help gather this evidence and figure out what evidence is appropriate in supporting your claim.
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James Minick is a criminal defense attorney in Asheville, NC and is the owner of Minick Law, P.C.