Report It At Once.
Immediately report your injury to your employer. Don’t wait to see how badly hurt you are. Delay in reporting makes your case more difficult to win. North Carolina law requires written notice be given to your employer in a worker’s compensation injury within 30 days of the date of the workplace accident. While there are some exceptions to that rule, it is far better to not have count on your case being an exception. Reporting the injury to your employer documents what happened and allows you to get medical treatment immediately.
Accept Medical Treatment.
Once you report the injury, your employer will send you for medical treatment. Unless the injury is readily apparent as ‘severe’— you have obviously broken bones, you are bleeding profusely and have internal injuries or some condition requiring hospitalization, etc.—they will likely send you to an Urgent Care or Occupational Health doctor. While this is not always the best medical care for your particular case, it is inevitable for most injuries. Remember, the healthcare provider is selected by your employer – not someone you select. When you see this company doctor, be sure to mention all complaints and injuries, no matter how minor they may seem at the time. Often, an injury that seems minor at the time turns out to be significant later. If it is not mentioned in the initial visit, the insurance company will argue that it was not caused by the workplace injury.
After Time, See A Specialist.
After some time, if your injury is not improving, you will generally be referred to a specialist. By far the most common ones you will be referred to are orthopedic doctors, or neurosurgeons for back and head injuries. Again, the specialist is selected by your employer and you do not get to select the healthcare provider. These doctors vary widely in their approach to injured workers. Some doctors are very sympathetic and offer exceptional care for a workplace injury while others may treat injured workers with suspicion. We can help you get to the best doctor for your condition.
The Insurance Company Will Want A Statement – DO NOT DO THIS ALONE.
Your employer’s insurance company representative – most often called an ‘adjuster’ will want to take a recorded statement. DO NOT try to do this without speaking with Scott Galiger Law. Adjusters are highly trained in the intricacies of worker’s compensation law and can try to trick you into saying something that will harm your case. Workers compensation law is extremely complex and one wrong answer to an adjuster can destroy your case. Be sure to know your rights before giving any statement.
Rehabilitation Nurse or Physical Therapist Assignments.
Sometimes an insurance company will assign a rehabilitation nurse to your claim. As long as they follow the rules of conduct, they are not necessarily harmful to your case and can actually occasionally be helpful by making it easier to get appointment or referrals. However, some will try to manipulate your case and treatment in a negative way.
Get An Attorney.
When is the right time to hire an attorney? You should contact Scott Galiger Law as soon as you are physically able after a workplace accident related injury. If you are severely injured we will come to your home or hospital room to talk about your case and recommend your next course of action. If you are unable to call, have a family member or friend contact us. We’re easy to talk to, have more than 15 years of worker’s compensation experience in NC and VA, and will be with you every step of the way.