1. What should I do if I am injured at work?
- report the injury to your employer immediately,
- seek medical treatment, and
- call 252-243-1003 to make an appointment with me for a FREE consultation as soon as possible. The sooner you get to me, the better chance you have of keeping your job and obtaining just compensation from the insurance carrier.
2. Will workers’ compensation cover me for work-related illness or injuries that aren’t the result of an accident?
Yes. But it needs to be a scheduled occupational disease listed in Chapter 97 of the N.C. General Statutes. I have handled over 100 of these cases for hearing loss alone.
3. Can I still receive workers’ compensation benefits if the accident was my fault?
Yes. The test for compensability is whether you were acting “within the course and scope of employment.”
4. What kind of benefits can I receive from workers’ compensation in North Carolina?
You can recover for time out of work with a doctor’s note from an authorized treating physician, for partial wages due to doctor’s note limiting your working hours, medical compensation paid for your treatment, and compensation for your permanent partial disability.
5. Do I have to attend their IME (Independent Medical Exam)?
There are rare occasions when this might be avoided. But they must be justified in seeking such an IME, and they are not allowed to “doctor shop.”
6. What is the difference between SSD and SSI?
SSD is a Title 2 claim, or recovery of the money that you have paid in during your carrier. SSI is a Title 16 claim, or public funds available for disabled people who meet certain standard poverty criteria. (This criteria may vary from state to state.)
7, Will I lose my benefits if I try to go back to work, even if it turns out that I can’t do the job?
There is no easy answer to this question. While each case may have unique circumstances, my experience is that when Social Security tells you that you can work, they are setting you up to cut you off. Once you are receiving benefits, I find that you can work a little if you don’t make an income that approaches SGA (Substantial Gainful Activity).
8. What about my family? Are they entitled to Social Security disability benefits?
Minor dependents under 18 years old are entitled to benefits if you are entitled to disability benefits.
9. Why Does Social Security Keep Denying My Claim?
There are numerous reasons that Social Security will use to deny your claim, but the main one is that they do not want to pay it. The Social Security system overburdened and underfunded by Congress.
10. How can a Social Security lawyer help me?
A GOOD Social Security lawyer will have a theory of the claim for compensation, prepare your case for the hearing, obtain all the necessary medical records, write a brief to the judge, and provide you with personal instruction on how to answer the judge’s questions. I often participate in a role play exercise with my clients where we actually rehearse for the hearing. Don’t rely on TV commercials to tell you who the good Social Security attorneys are. Ask around, and particularly ask other attorneys who they might recommend.