Construction injuries make up the majority of workplace injuries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 79,000 reported nonfatal work injuries in 2019 alone. These worksite injuries are caused by various factors, including slips and falls, falling objects, electrical hazards, and exposure to harmful chemicals.
Common Types of Injuries
There are many types of injuries a person can sustain in the workplace. Some of the more common injuries include cuts, scrapes, bruises, and burns. However, more serious injuries, such as the following, can also occur:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Chemical exposure illnesses
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
Construction workers who suffer from these types of injuries may be unable to return to work for a few months or even years.
When a construction worker is disabled due to a construction injury, they may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. Workers' compensation is a type of insurance that provides benefits to workers who are injured in an accident on the job. Benefits can include medical expenses, income replacement, payment for permanent partial disability, and death benefits. In addition, our attorneys are often able to secure lump sum settlements after the worker has finished their medical treatment.
To be eligible for workers' compensation benefits, a construction worker must meet the following requirements:
- They must be an employee of a company that regularly employs 3 or more employees.
- Their employer must carry workers’ compensation insurance.*
- They must have a work-related illness or injury that is defined as compensable under North Carolina law. This usually means the injury is the result of an “accident” or “specific traumatic event,” but there are some exceptions to this requirement.
- They must put their employer on written notice as soon as possible, or within 30 days, and must put the Industrial Commission on notice within 2 years.
*In certain circumstances, an employer may break the law and not purchase workers’ compensation insurance. In situations like this, the attorneys at Lanier Law Group may still be able to help.
Depending on the severity of the workers’ injuries, they may qualify for partial or total disability payments during their recovery period. Total disability means that the worker is unable to work at all due to their injuries. When an injured worker is totally disabled as a result of a compensable work injury, they are entitled to 2/3’s of their pre-injury wages. These benefits are tax-free. Partial disability means the worker can work, but their injuries have decreased their earnings and they are earning less than before the injury. In this situation, the injured worker will be paid 2/3’s of the difference of their pre-injury wage and their new wage.
To receive workers' compensation benefits, construction workers must file a claim with their employer. The claim must be accepted by the employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier. Once the claim is accepted, benefits will be paid to the construction worker on a weekly basis. It is important to note that if the insurance carrier accepts the claim, the insurance carrier gains the right to direct the injured worker’s medical treatment. This means the insurance carrier, not the employee, has the right to select the doctors who provide medical treatment. If an injured worker refuses treatment from the workers’ compensation doctor, they may lose the benefits.
If the insurance carrier denies the claim, experienced attorneys at Lanier Law Group can appeal that denial to the North Carolina Industrial Commission and ask the court to force the insurance carrier to accept the claim and pay benefits owed. We can also help the injured worker find doctors to provide medical treatment while the claim is pending.
In addition to getting injured workers wage replacement benefits and medical treatment while they are injured and recovering, our attorneys may can also negotiate a lump sum settlement once the injured worker is finished with medical treatment. A negotiated lump sum settlement may take into account the injured worker’s residual disability from the original injury, their future medical needs, their future loss of wage earning capacity, the need for additional training to make the worker employable in a different line of work.
We Can Help
Being out of work without a plan can be a scary experience for most. If you've recently been injured onsite at work, we may be able to help you find a clearer path towards financial relief. Our experienced workers' compensation attorneys at Lanier Law Group, P.A. will fight tirelessly to help you obtain the benefits you deserve.
To contact our offices, call us at (855) 757-4204 or fill out a consultation request form on our website here.