Yearly Archives: 2018

Don’t Let Holiday Stress Make Your Injuries Worse!

Community

Don’t Let Holiday Stress Make Your Injuries Worse!

 

The holiday season is upon us. The stores are bustling and full of decorations, many people are planning holiday dinners, and everything seems to be a bit busier than usual. While the holidays can be a fun and exciting time of year, they can also be exhausting and bring with them a lot of negative emotions.

If you’ve suffered a work injury, then your holiday season might be a bit different than it has been in years past. But it’s important to remember that experiencing stress and depression around the holidays is completely normal. It’s okay to feel sad or frustrated.

 

Many people experience feelings of isolation and loneliness. If this happens to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to your community. Whether you volunteer somewhere or attend a religious or social event, do something that helps connect you with other people.

 

It can be difficult, but remember, it’s okay to say no to things. If you’re not feeling up for visiting with people or cooking food for the family, it’s okay to opt out. What’s most important is focusing on your recovery.

 

Overexerting yourself can make your injuries worse. It’s a good idea to set aside time to yourself and take lots of breaks. Being realistic about what you’ll be capable of doing can also help reduce stress. Come up with a game plan and be ready to adjust it in order to accommodate how you’re feeling.

 

Of course, if you find yourself struggling or feeling very depressed, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from a professional.

 

At Oxner + Permar, we want our everyone in our community to have  a wonderful holiday season. Be sure to take care of yourselves and be safe! 

What is the North Carolina Industrial Commission and How Does It Affect My Case?

Workers' Compensation

What is the North Carolina Industrial Commission and How Does It Affect My Case?

When it comes to workman’s comp cases, it’s important to know who all of the players are. If you’ve been injured at work, then there’s no doubt that you’ve probably heard of the North Carolina Industrial Commission (often abbreviated to NCIC or sometimes just IC). The NCIC is the government agency that’s in charge of handling all workers’ comp claims — and they’ll be playing a big role in your case.

A lot of people don’t realize this, but workers’ comp claims do not go to court. If you’re dealing with a workman’s comp case you will never see a judge or jury. So what happens if there is a dispute about your claim?

 

In this instance, your case will be heard by a Deputy Commissioner employed by the NCIC. The Deputy Commissioner is like a judge. They will listen to both sides of the story, consider all of the evidence such as doctors’ testimonies, and will ultimately file a final decision. This decision is called an Opinion and Award.

 

Whoever doesn’t win the Opinion and Award has the option to file an appeal to the Full Commission. The Full Commission is made up of a panel of three Commissioners. They will reconsider all of the evidence which will be presented to them by the Deputy Commissioner who originally heard your case.

 

During this time the attorney for each side gets 20 minutes to tell the Full Commission what they should be looking at. The Full Commission also has the opportunity to ask questions. Once they come to a clear decision, they can determine the outcome of the case.

 

If you’re injured at work, don’t hesitate to reach out to an attorney. With more than $275 million in awards and settlements, Oxner + Permar has the experience to help you navigate your workers’ comp claim.

If I Settle My Case, Do I Have to Quit My Job?

Workers' Compensation

If I Settle My Case, Do I Have to Quit My Job?

This is a question that often comes up when clients are dealing with a workers’ compensation case. Many are concerned that they’ll have to add searching for employment to their list of things to worry about while recovering from their injury. While there is no requirement that says you have to quit your job if you settle, it’s still possible you may find yourself unemployed after your settlement.

Quite often an employer will ask you to resign as part of a certain type of settlement. These settlements are usually for significantly more money than what would cover your disability rating. If you take a settlement that matches your rating, it is extremely unlikely that your employer will ask you to resign.

 

The reason this could happen is that when you’re offered a bigger settlement, the insurance company is paying to give up their obligation for your future medical care. So for example, let’s say you were allowed to return to work after being awarded $50,000 for your shoulder injury. If six weeks later you returned to work and re-injured your shoulder, not only would you have the $50,000 from your first claim, you’d also be able to start a new claim.

 

By asking you to resign as part of the settlement, the insurance company can ensure that they won’t have to pay you twice. In fact, if you hear about someone who was fired after a workers’ comp claim, it’s more likely that they were offered money in order to resign. But their boss would have encouraged the rumor that they were fired…or at least, they won’t do anything to correct the rumor.

 

This is because if employees think that the claim caused a coworker to be fired, it will prevent other employees from filing a claim themselves — which means that the employer will save money. You shouldn’t let these rumors prevent you from submitting your workers’ compensation claim. While you can be asked to resign, it is illegal for an employer to fire you for filing for workers’ comp.

 

If you’ve been injured at work don’t hesitate to contact an attorney to help guide you through the process. With more than $275 million in awards and settlements, Oxner + Permar has the experience to get you the benefits you deserve.

Can I Sue My Employer for Negligence?

Workers' Compensation

Can I Sue My Employer for Negligence?

We understand that after you’ve been injured on the job, you’ll want to do everything in your power to make that wrong right. And sometimes, simply receiving workers’ compensation for your injury doesn’t feel like enough. However, according to workman’s comp law, you are not allowed to sue your employer for negligence. The only avenue is through workers’ compensation.

As a follow up question, I frequently have clients ask, “But what if I can prove that my employer was negligent?” Even if they were somehow negligent, you still cannot sue.

 

It IS possible to get an additional 10% penalty against your employer if you can prove that they willfully failed to comply with any statutory requirement; however, cases of the Industrial Commission enforcing this penalty are very rare. “Willful Failure” is a very high standard to meet. Generally the employer would have to be at fault for something far more serious.

 

The only exception to being able to sue your employer in the case of an injury is if your employer was required by law to carry workers’ compensation and failed to do so. In this case, your employer cannot claim the Workers’ Compensation Act as a defense in a lawsuit. In this case, you would be able to sue.

 

In the vast majority of cases, you may not sue your employer for negligence. When it comes to workers’ comp cases, it’s always a good idea to work with an experienced attorney who has a good understanding of what you can or can’t do with your case.

Do I Have to Pay Back Bills Paid by Health Insurance?

Workers' Compensation

 

Do I Have to Pay Back Bills Paid by Health Insurance?

Sometimes it can take a while before workers’ compensation benefits kick in. This means while you’re waiting, you’re responsible for covering the costs of treatment. If you have health insurance, it’s possible that they’ll cover your medical bills while you’re waiting for workman’s comp benefits. So what happens once you’ve been awarded workers’ comp benefits? Will you have to pay your insurance company back?

Like many things in the world of workers’ comp, there is no easy yes or no: the answer depends on a few factors. If your health insurance is an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Plan, then you will likely have to pay at least some of the money back. Frequently, multi-state employers carry these kinds of plans.

 

On the other hand, if you have a local health plan, chances are you won’t have to pay them back. However, in order to ensure you won’t have to pay it back, you’ll need to have your attorney put the proper language into your settlement documents.

 

If your workers’ comp claim is denied and your health insurance is denying coverage, make sure to send a copy of your Form 61 to your insurance company. This will notify them that you are not receiving workers’ comp benefits, and that they are supposed to begin covering your bills.

 

It’s possible that you may receive a letter from your insurance company asking for details about your workman’s compensation claim. If this happens, you’ll want to have a conversation with your attorney as soon as possible to discuss next steps.

 

Dealing with a workers’ comp claim can be incredibly complicated. It’s always a good idea to make sure you have an experienced attorney on your side to help you navigate the process. Don’t hesitate to give us a call for a free consultation.