The Clincher Agreement: A Final Resolution of Your Workers’ Compensation Case
How do you achieve closure after a worker’s compensation claim? Chances are, you’ve been involved in filing and following through with all of the necessary steps of a claim for months. A clincher agreement is there to provide final resolution. This agreement states that all parties have reached a final agreement, and it is only allowed by the North Carolina Industrial Commission when it meets all of the requirements of Rule 502. So rest assured that there are legal steps that your employer must take to ensure that you have been treated fairly.
There are a few things of which you should be aware if you are in the process of formulating a clincher agreement with your employer.
Whether or not it seems fair, it’s a fact that many employers seek to obtain a resignation and release of all employment claims at the same time they get a clincher of the workers’ compensation claim. Why? A previously injured employee is a future liability. In their view, and it makes good economic sense to secure an employment resignation and release at the end of the workers’ compensation claim. To ensure things go smoothly, there are a few things to consider before you discuss a resignation and release.
- A resignation and release of employment and employment-related claims should be discussed and negotiated with an employment lawyer to avoid any mistakes that could ultimately cost you.
- The money paid for an employment resignation and release must be separate from the money paid for the workers’ compensation clincher. Make sure the check for the employment resignation and release comes directly from your employer, not the insurance company. Keep in mind that payment from a resignation and release will most likely be considered taxable income. Again, have an employment lawyer negotiate this issue to be certain expectations of both parties are clear.
- Consider mediation, which creates an excellent opportunity to discuss both clinchers and resignation and releases. Typically a mediation make sure that both parties have useful and productive discussions with one another.
It is important to know that you cannot be forced to resign from your employment. If you are not willing to voluntarily and willfully resign your position, make that clear to your employer.
Filing for Workers’ Compensation: What Does a Form 63 Mean?
If you’re filing for workers’ compensation, chances are you’re going to be dealing with a lot of paperwork: some that you fill out and some that you will receive from an insurance carrier or employer. Paperwork is never fun. Especially when something as important as your workman’s compensation benefits is riding on it. The process can be made even more tedious by the fact that many of the forms are labeled by number rather than what it actually is they do. For example, you may come across a Form 63. But what does that mean? What is Form 63?
A Form 63 means that the insurance company is still investigating the claim and is accepting the claim in whole or in part for the time being. There are two sections in a Form 63.
Section 1: If section one has been checked, this means you will receive lost wages and medical compensation. If 90 days pass and the insurance company does not formally deny or accept your workers’ compensation claim, then the claim is deemed accepted.
Section 2: If section 2 is checked, then you will receive medical compensation but not lost wages.
The best way to navigate a workers’ comp claim is by working with an experienced attorney. We can help you understand exactly what paperwork you will encounter and what it means. Insurance carriers deal with these forms every day, but chances are you’ve never seen them before. Make sure you understand the process, every step of the way.
At Oxner + Permar we’re dedicated to making sure our clients have a fair understanding of their workers’ comp process and that you’re on an even playing field with the insurance carrier. If you have any questions, be sure to contact one of our experienced attorneys for a free consultation.
Getting a Second Opinion in a Workers’ Compensation Case
Dealing with workers’ compensation often means a whole lot of headaches and jumping through hoops to get the benefits you need. It can be frustrating when dealing with insurance companies to have to go to the hospital or doctor that they prescribe. Of course, the reason they can choose the hospital or doctor is because it is your employer’s insurance that is covering you, not your own insurance. However, if you feel that your diagnosis is inaccurate, is it okay to ask for a second opinion?
The answer is yes! If you feel that your diagnosis is inaccurate or that you are not healing as quickly as you should, then definitely ask for a second opinion. However, you cannot just go to a different doctor and expect it to be covered. The first step is to get written permission from your employer to see another physician. This should include the name and address of the physician you wish to see. If your employer gives written permission, then you can schedule your appointment.
So what if your employer doesn’t respond or give permission for you to see another doctor? Well there is another option. If this first step fails, then you can appeal to the North Carolina Industrial Commission for a second opinion. If the Commission agrees to a second opinion, then your employer must follow through and allow a second opinion. Generally you will need to prove that a second opinion will increase your recovery time or will improve your wellbeing.
If you have any questions about how to obtain a second opinion be sure to contact an experienced attorney. It’s always good to have someone on your side who is willing to fight for your rights and dedicated to ensuring that you get the best care in order to make the fastest recovery.
I Have to Travel Significant Distances for My Medical Treatment. Am I Entitled to Additional Compensation?
For many North Carolinians, medical treatment centers may not be conveniently located. If you live out in the country, you could end up driving miles into the city every time you need to visit your doctor — And as we’ve mentioned before on our blog, frequent visits with your doctor can be incredibly important for maintaining your benefits. All that driving will be putting extra miles on your car, not to mention the additional money you’ll have to pay in gas.
The good news is that if you have to travel 20 miles or more round-trip for your medical treatment, you may be entitled to compensation for your mileage. This includes travel completed during the first seven days following your accident, when compensation for work is not yet due.
In order to claim compensation for travel, you must file a Form 25T with the North Carolina Industrial Commission to track your medical mileage. It is important to keep track of your mileage to ensure you are properly compensated. North Carolina adjusts the rate of reimbursement each year, so you may receive a different amount based on when you had to travel. As of January 1, 2016 the rate is $0.54 per mile.
If you have to travel more than 20 miles round-trip to receive medical treatment for your work injury, you may be eligible for compensation for that mileage. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact one of our experienced attorneys.
Litigation Concerning the Map Act Continues
A recent hot topic of the eminent domain world has been the “Map Act,” and as such it has been the topic of our last few eminent domain posts. A quick refresher: the Map Act was a law in North Carolina that allowed city governments to stake claim on land that they were planning on using for infrastructure without having to put any money towards that claim. Recently the Court of Appeals ruled that the Map Act was improper as it caused the value of the land claimed by the government to plummet. The Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeals’ ruling.
Excellent! The ruling has been upheld, which is great news. Unfortunately, this process is not complete just yet, however. The next step is for the initial trial court to implement the Supreme Court’s decision. Superior Court Judge Joe Craig’s ruling on the case outlined a list of requirements that the state must follow. One such requirement was that the state begins hiring appraisers to value the properties and set aside the appraised value of that property for compensation. The state has 90 days to evaluate and deposit the money for the 9 properties that were brought into question during the case.
Even with this ruling, there are still some uncertainties. For instance, it is unknown whether this is a complete taking or not. In other words, does the state have to buy the property in full? Or is it just compensation for the decreased value of the property that the state has to pay? It’s going to take additional litigation and time to resolve these issues. In the meantime, homeowners will face additional hardship and uncertainty, and the state will owe more money. We’ll be sure to keep you informed as things progress. If you have any questions about eminent domain and your own property, don’t hesitate to contact us.