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"Your Case is Our Cause"
327 West Morgan Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
At Page Law, PA we will provide you with the best legal representation possible, and always work to get you the maximum benefits you are entitled to under the law. We feel that your interests are most important, and we understand what considerable hardship you are undergoing due to the inability to work and not being able to provide for your own needs or that of your dependents.
We would like you to know that your interest is our foremost concern. Many issues might arise because of your injury. Below we will try to address some of these for you and how our firm can help:
▶ Setting Up Your Claim
What should you do if you are injured at work? First, if you are able, report the injury to your supervisor or superior immediately, even if you don't think you need immediate medical attention. More injured workers lose their benefits because they wait to report the incident than for any other reason. Once the incident is reported — no matter how minor it is — the law requires the employer to file an accident report (Form 19) with the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC). You should ask to see and sign this report before it gets sent. The law also requires the injured employee to file his or her own accident report (Form 18) within two years of the accident. If the employee fails to file this form, any benefits the employee might be entitled to under the law could be lost.
We will make a file and notify the Industrial Commission that we represent you and file all the necessary forms to protect your claim. It usually takes a week for us to hear back from the Industrial Commission, and they will forward a copy of our representation to your employer's insurance company. At the same time, we will write the hospitals and doctors that have seen you. It often takes several weeks for us to begin to receive medical reports. If you are having trouble receiving compensation, we will immediately contact the adjuster handling your claim to get your benefits to you.
▶ Changing Your Doctor
If you do not like the doctor that you are going to, or you feel there is some need for additional or different medical treatment, it is necessary for us to get the approval of the workers' compensation carrier before you change doctors. We have no authority to choose doctors for you or to approve medical treatment. You must get in touch with us, and we will, after discussing it with you, contact the carrier for approval. It is most important that you rely upon your doctor, and that you follow his or her directions and make every appointment possible. Your doctor is an important part of your workers' compensation claim.
When Your Checks are Overdue or They Stop Payment
If your checks are not coming in on a timely basis or if payments have been stopped altogether, we will contact the carrier, and if they refuse to do what is proper, we will then get in touch with the Industrial Commission. This can be very frustrating for you and for us. If necessary we will demand a hearing before the Industrial Commission. This is not always immediately helpful, because it may be months before the hearing is scheduled. We will work directly with the insurance company and pressure them to keep your checks coming on time to avoid this scenario.
▶ Be Careful About Your Rehabilitation Nurse
If your injury is serious, a person called a rehabilitation nurse may get in touch with you. Insurance companies are hiring vocational rehabilitation nurses to supervise your medical treatment and to provide other information to the insurance companies. Sometimes these people can be helpful in your rehabilitation, but often their purpose is to reduce the amount of money you receive. If such an individual contacts you, get in touch with us immediately. Do not give them any information nor agree to see any doctor with them present until you have discussed your rights with us. You have a right to medical treatment without the interference of any third parties and this includes a rehabilitation nurse. In most cases these people are not your friends, and they are there specifically to obtain information that might hurt you in a hearing. You have a right to object to their presence when you are being examined or treated by your doctor. If we think that the person assigned to your case is really interested in your rehabilitation, we will urge you to cooperate with that nurse. The nurse in turn will provide us with reports and will keep us advised as matters develop. As you know, we are as interested as anyone in your returning to full-time, gainful employment if you can. If on the other hand, your injuries prevent you from full-time employment in the future, it is our job to see that you receive your full benefits under the law.
▶ You Should Be Aware You May Be Videotaped
The insurance companies in some cases hire private investigators to videotape the activities of people with workplace injuries. We simply want to warn you of this as a possibility. We want you to act naturally and honestly in every situation. Sometimes people will be put in circumstances where they feel they have to carry out some physical activity that a doctor has advised them against.
You should be aware that this might be recorded by an insurance company and used against you in this case.
▶ What is Your Compensation Rate?
Everything that you recover in the form of compensation is based on your gross income. Your gross income includes overtime, financial benefits received other than salary, and any other flexible income you might receive. This includes tips and other gifts from your employer. When you come to see us, you should be clear in explaining your full income. If you have a W2 form or forms and a tax return form from the previous full year before your injury, please provide us with that information. We will go over your income, but often our clients fail to recognize the importance of advising us as to their full, gross salary. There is a big difference between your gross income and your net take-home income. Your workers' compensation is based on your gross income. It is 66.66 percent of your gross income. We may, if there is a serious question about your compensation rate, request additional information from your employer, such as a copy of your wage chart.
▶ When Are You Entitled to Compensation?
You are entitled to weekly compensation for the weeks that you are unable to work. This means that your doctor or doctors must furnish a statement to the insurance company that for a given period you are not able to do your job. You are also entitled to travel expenses to and from the doctor and other health-care providers, when the trip is over six miles. You are entitled to have your drug expenses reimbursed or paid by the insurance company, as well as all medical bills. But most important of all, you are entitled to payment in a lump sum for any permanent partial disability you might have. If you are unhappy with the opinion of the doctor you were first directed to, you are entitled to a second opinion. Your rating is extremely important. The higher the percentage of your rating of disability, the greater the amount you will recover. The body is divided up into different portions, and the workers' compensation act allows for a different recovery basis on the percentage of disability for each portion injured. If there is any proposal of a change of your physician on the part of the insurance company, or if you desire to change your physician or desire a second opinion, please discuss the matter thoroughly with us. We are very careful about the doctors that our clients are referred to. It is important to see a doctor that has a reputation for giving fair and reasonable ratings.
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