After a Work Injury, Do I Have to Use My Vacation and Sick Time?
I recently spoke with a client who suffered a workplace injury, and they asked me a question that comes up frequently. “My human resources person said that I have to use my vacation and sick time before they will pay me anything. Is that true?” I’m always shocked at how often I hear this question, especially from state and local employees.
The answer to whether or not you’re required to use your vacation time or sick time is a definitive no. According to North Carolina law, you do not get paid for missing the first week of work after your injury. Instead you begin receiving payments the second week. If you are unable to work a third week — or if you get a disability rating due to an injured body part— then they have to go back and pay you for the first week.
Even if you use vacation days or sick days for your first week, the insurance company is still required to pay you for that first week. While your employer might try to claim that this is great for you because you get paid twice, that’s not how the law sees it. You are using a limited resource that you’ve earned — your vacation time, sick time, or personal time off — so you didn’t really get it for free.
You are in no way obligated to take your vacation or sick time in order to cover your first week off. Don’t let your employer force you to use what is yours. Work with an experienced attorney who will help you stand up for your rights.
Do Family Members Earn Benefits If Someone Dies as the Result of a Workplace Injury?
We always want to make sure that our loved ones are taken care of — which is why it’s important to know where your family stands should anything happen to you on the job or as a result of a workplace injury. In the event of death, are your family members covered by workers’ compensation?
Whether or not a worker’s family will receive death benefits and workman’s comp has to do with their financial relationship. If they are wholly dependent on the worker and their earnings, they will share the death benefits equally. For instance, if a worker leaves behind a wife and dependent child, they would be considered wholly dependent. If the deceased worker has no dependents, then a portion of their benefits would go to any partial dependents.
Generally, benefits are paid out every week for a minimum of 500 weeks. For dependent children, they will receive benefits until they turn 18. For the spouse, they will pay benefits until their own death or until they remarry. Workers’ compensation also covers funeral expenses up to $10,000.
In order to receive these benefits, the deceased worker’s next of kin will need to file for workers’ compensation with the Industrial Commission within 30 days of the employee’s death.
If you’ve lost a loved one due to a workplace injury, be sure to reach out to an experienced attorney to help you through the process. Don’t go it alone — contact Oxner + Permar for a free consultation.
When Workplace Injury Leads to Disability
If you’ve suffered a disability after a workplace injury, you might qualify for several accommodations. What kind of benefits you receive will depend on the severity of your injury and how long it will take for you to recover. There are four kinds of workers’ compensation disability benefits:
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
Temporary Total Disability benefits cover injuries that are severe, but that you are expected to recover from. In this case, severe means that your injury prevents you from returning to work. It is your responsibility as the injured party to prove that you are disabled in order to receive these benefits. You will stop receiving these benefits once you return to work.
Temporary Partial Disability benefits are given to injured employees who are able to return to work but in a limited capacity at a lower wage. You might be taking on a different job or returning to the same position, but with work restrictions. These benefits are designed to accommodate your cut in wages and recovery expenses.
Permanent Partial Disability benefits begin when you have reached the end of your healing period, but are still impaired in some way due to your workplace injury. The Workers’ Compensation Act outlines some of the ways in which you might be compensated. You will receive these benefits for a certain amount of time based on which part of the body was injured.
Permanent Total Disability benefits are paid in the event that your workplace injury has permanently affected your ability to work at all. In these cases, if you’re considered unfit to work again, you’ll receive PTD benefits for the rest of your life.
Regardless of the severity of your workplace injury, you deserve compensation. It’s a good idea to speak with an attorney about the different options. An experienced attorney will be able to tell you which kinds of benefits you’ll likely need to receive and know the course of action you’ll need to take in order to get them.
If you’ve suffered a workplace injury that has resulted in a disability, don’t hesitate to contact Oxner + Permar. With more than $275 million in awards and settlements, we have the experience to protect your rights and get the benefits you deserve.
Can Minors Receive Workers’ Compensation?
Whether it’s putting money towards college, saving up for their first car, or helping out the family, many teenagers find themselves working part-time jobs on top of their studies. It’s a common part of the teenage experience. Unfortunately, young age does not prevent injury, and teenagers can get hurt at work just like anyone else. So before you get to work, it’s a good idea to know your rights.
In the U.S. all minors must be covered by workers’ compensation. In some states such as North Carolina, workers under the age of 18 are given additional protections.
For instance, in a regular workers’ comp case, your benefits will usually be calculated based on the amount you have made over the past year. However, if the case involves a minor, benefits will be determined according to their future earning capacity. In other words, they will look at how much the minor would be making if they’d been promoted as an adult.
It’s also important to note that in the case of permanent partial disability or permanent total disability cases, you may need to have a legal parent or guardian appear in court.
Getting a job as a teenager can be a significant first step into the adult world. As such, it’s important to be aware of your rights and know what you should do if you’re hurt on the job. Don’t hesitate to speak to an experienced attorney. We can help guide you through your case and ensure that your rights are being protected.
In North Carolina, workers under the age of 18 qualify for workers’ compensation benefits that take into consideration their future at their workplace. If you’ve been injured at work, don’t hesitate to call Oxner + Permar for a free consultation so we can see what compensation you may be entitled to.
Can I See a Chiropractor While Receiving Workers’ Comp?
The day your workers’ compensation checks start coming in is a huge relief. It’s easier to focus on your recovery when you have some income. Make sure that you’re doing everything for your health that you can.
I frequently have clients ask whether or not they’ll be allowed to visit a chiropractor while they’re receiving workers’ comp benefits. They worry that since chiropractors are not M.D.s, the treatment might be frowned upon by the Industrial Commission — but this is not the case.
You can absolutely visit a chiropractor while receiving workman’s compensation. In fact, if you are granted permission to seek medical treatment from your employer, you are entitled to 20 chiropractic visits.
If you still require treatment after those 20 visits, it’s possible that you will be able to continue getting coverage. If you do require more treatment, your chiropractor will need to request authorization from your employer for the additional visits.
And keep this in mind: While your employer doesn’t have to authorize additional visits, they are not allowed to terminate your visits during your first 20. If your employer tries to stop you from seeing a chiropractor, be sure to mention this to your attorney.
If you are receiving workers’ comp benefits, you are entitled to chiropractor visits as well. If you have any questions about your rights when it comes to workers’ comp, be sure to ask an experienced attorney. We want to help you get back on your feet and feeling better as soon as possible.