Workers’ Comp Benefits for Burns and Disfigurement

Workers’ Comp Benefits for Burns and Disfigurement

A burn is a very common work injury—and yet many employees don’t realize that workers’ compensation is available to them. Workmans’ comp provides benefits not only for burns, but also for other types of work injuries leading to disfigurement. If you have scars or skin damage from a previous work injury and you never filed a claim, it’s not too late to get assistance.

As attorneys who specialize in workers’ comp, we’ve seen it time and time again: Employees consider their work injury to be minor enough that they can “tough it out.” They go back to work right away so that they don’t miss a paycheck—and they avoid going to the doctor because of medical bills.

But it’s not about telling yourself, “I feel good enough”; it’s about getting the care you need and deserve. A burn, or other similar work injury, should receive the proper treatment to ensure that your skin heals. A visit to your physician, follow up care, and compensation for time away from work all may very well be covered by law. That’s exactly why the Workers’ Compensation Act exists—to help employees like you. You just need someone by your side to help guide you through the process and fight for your rights. With of team of 25 attorneys, who’ve won more than $275m in awards and settlements, Oxner + Permar is the leading workers’ compensation firm in the state of North Carolina.

Our team of attorneys dedicated specifically to workers’ compensation has won more than $275m in awards and settlements for our clients.

I just got hurt at work. What should I do?

First thing is to check yourself and make sure you’re more or less ok. Second, make a note of who may have been a witness –just in case you need support later on. Third, tell your supervisor. Tell them out loud but back this with up with something in writing. That could be a formal report or just an email after the fact. Fourth, go the doctor. Be absolutely clear how you got hurt and that this occurred on the job. Fifth, follow up with your employer to make sure this went to their insurance company. You should get an Industrial Commission Form 19. This is the ONLY proof that the insurance company has acknowledged your claim. Sixth, you should file a Form 18. Be very careful about the Form 18. We recommend talking to an attorney before you file. Understand that simple errors like date of accident can come back to haunt you later on. The Form 18 needs to be perfect.

Can I be fired while I am on Workers’ compensation?

It’s a common mistake and many people think they cannot be fired while they are on workers’ compensation. While it is illegal for your employer to fire you in retaliation for you filing a workers’ compensation claim, few employers are stupid enough to tell you that’s what they are doing. The flip side of the coin is that you don’t have immunity while you’re on workers’ compensation. So if there is a layoff when your company is downsizing you can be laid off despite your status in the workers’ compensation system. Similarly if your employer cannot accommodate your restrictions they aren’t required to hold your position indefinitely. They can replace you. Finally, if you mess up you can get fired for cause.

You should be cautious as more than one shady employer has fired an injured worker and claimed it was for cause when the facts were pretty debatable. For instance, we represented a retail employee who taught Sunday school regularly and was about as devout as they come. Following her injury she was assigned to work as a greeter. She was fired for allegedly using the “F word” to a customer. This was almost impossible to imagine happening. The proof of this? An anonymous letter to the store manager. At the hearing when asked why the store would believe such an outrageous accusation from an anonymous source, the manager defended it and said she believed the “anonymous source” because it was her own daughter. The Manager admitted to asking the daughter to write the letter and instructed her not to sign it. Yet the manager clung to the story that the underlying offense really occurred.

What do I do if I am in a car accident?

Victims of car accidents are often in situations that they don’t understand or know how to deal with. In addition there may be medical issues or insurance questions. To protect your rights, you need to know what to do after an accident.

The personal injury attorneys at Oxner + Permar have decades of experience helping accident victims get fair compensation for their injuries. Here are a few tips about what to do if you are in a car wreck.

  • 1. Gather Information:
    • a. At the accident: Get, or ask someone else to get, pictures of the scene and the vehicles involved. Get the names and phone numbers of people who saw the accident.
    • b. A few days later: Get a copy of the police officer’s accident report. This report typically includes what each person said, any witness comments, and a picture showing the vehicles positions. The report may be available online within a few days after the accident. The accident reports are helpful but sometimes incomplete or not quite accurate.
  • 2. Document your injuries: If you go to the hospital be sure to tell your doctors everywhere you hurt. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make sure that your doctor understands exactly what your problems are. It is important to know that the other driver’s insurance company is not going to pay your medical bills, or pay you anything, until your case settles. So, if you have health insurance – use it! Using your health insurance will allow you to get medical care when you need it and keep your medical providers from sending your bills to collection agents.
  • 3. Expect a phone call: You may also receive a telephone call a day or two after the accident from an insurance adjuster who represents the other vehicle’s driver. Adjusters typically ask detailed questions about how the accident happened, the extent that your vehicle was damaged, and the nature of your injuries, if any. Be aware, however, that some of the questions asked by the adjuster are designed to determine whether you may have done anything that would indicate that you were at fault. For this reason you may wish to decline speaking to the adjuster beyond telling the adjuster that you were injured, you need a rental vehicle, and/or that you need to have your vehicle repaired, until you have the chance to speak with an attorney.
  • 4. Call your insurance company. Ask your insurance agent if you have “Medical Payments” coverage on your policy. This type of insurance may pay $1,000, $2,000, $5,000 or more towards your medical bills. That money can help you to pay for deductibles and co-pays that begin piling up after an accident.

Don’t worry! Now you know what to do if you’re the victim of a car accident. We hope it never happens to you but if it does you can always give us a call to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.

What is underinsured motorist insurance, and do I really need it?

In North Carolina, motorists are required to buy automobile liability insurance with limits of only $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident to protect others from their carelessness. Because it’s all that is required, that’s all most people have. That means that most drivers on our highways have policies that will pay, at most, $30,000 for each person injured by that driver’s carelessness, and no matter how many people are injured, the most that the driver’s insurance company will pay is a total of $60,000. If you have been to the doctor’s office or the hospital you know how expensive modern medicine is, and it’s easy to understand that $30,000 is not a lot of money, medically speaking. Moreover, people injured in automobile collisions may be out of work and have lost wages and other expenses. It is easy to see that the insurance required in North Carolina can be woefully inadequate to compensate those injured by inattentive drivers. Fortunately, there is a way motorists can protect themselves from careless drivers who have only minimum limits policies. It’s called Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage.

UIM is insurance you purchase. It pays you if you are injured by another driver when that driver does not have enough liability insurance to compensate you for your injuries. UIM coverage is purchased through your insurance agent along with your insurance policy. North Carolina law requires insurers to provide UIM to drivers who purchase policies with liability limits greater than the minimum limits of $30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident. So, if you buy an auto policy with liability limits of $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident, for example, you automatically will receive UIM coverage in the same amount.

On its face this makes no sense – the accident wasn’t your fault, why should your own insurance company have to pay? Well, this is the world we live in! One of the hardest parts of my job is telling a client that the at-fault driver did not have enough insurance to pay the bills and the client has no UIM coverage to cover the shortfall. The only prudent way for drivers to protect their families is to purchase UIM insurance – and lots of it. I recommend everyone get the maximum, $1,000,000 per person/$1,000,000 per accident. And as far as insurance goes, UIM is quite inexpensive.

Don’t wait to be injured by a driver with a small insurance policy. Talk to your insurance agent about UIM coverage today.