In the workplace, safety gear and proper training should be your employer’s first concern. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires training in a language you can understand as well as all necessary safety gear for your job. If your employer does not provide you with these instructions or materials, you may face serious injuries on the job.
In many cases, you may be able to file for workers’ compensation for your workplace injuries. Workers’ comp allows you to claim damages for medical expenses and replacement wages if you are too injured to return to work, without needing to prove your employer was negligent. For help understanding what workers’ comp benefits you may be entitled to, contact the Charlotte workers’ comp lawyers at The Ramsay Law Firm today. Our number is (704) 376-1616.
Lawyer for Unsafe Workplace Injuries in Charlotte, NC
When you are injured at work, North Carolina requires that you file for workers’ compensation rather than take your employer to court. If you were to file a lawsuit against your employer, you would need to prove that they were grossly negligent before you could get damages. This would mean showing evidence that your employer deliberately put you in a known danger. With workers’ compensation, you do not have to prove fault.
As long as your condition or injury was caused by workplace conditions, you may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp pays not only for workplace injuries, but also for long-lasting conditions that were caused by work conditions. This means that sudden injuries caused by on-the-job accidents, such as falling scaffolding or on-the-job car accidents, can be covered. It also means that things like poisoning or lung issues after years of exposure to chemicals or dangerous compounds can also get you workers’ comp coverage.
When you seek workers’ compensation, the benefits usually cover two main areas: your medical expenses and lost wages. If you are too injured to go to work, it may be impossible to cover your medical bills or provide yourself and your family with a living wage. Workers’ comp ensures that any necessary medical expenses are paid for. It also provides you with a living wage up to 66 2/3% of your normal weekly wages. These wages are subject to certain maximums, but they are often enough to take care of your needs.
The medical care provided through workers’ comp may require you to use a physician your employer chooses. Either your boss or their workers’ comp insurance company may choose a list of doctors you are required to use to get your treatment costs covered. However, you may be able to use a different physician if you have a good reason and get special approval.
Suing for Lack of Workplace Safety in North Carolina
Since workers’ comp is required as the first route to recovery, it is known as an “exclusive remedy.” However, NC law does allow exceptions, where you may be able to sue your employer directly. Though workers’ comp can cover 2/3 of your lost wages and pay for your medical expenses, very serious injuries or very negligent employers may justify additional damages. In these cases, you may be able to sue in court instead of using workers’ comp.
For very severe negligence that could cause death, known as “gross negligence,” you may be able to sue your employer in court. A case like this may revolve around severely unsafe workplaces or complete lack of training that created an unsafe work environment. Workers’ comp also does not cover injuries your employer causes intentionally, such as physical violence. If you suffered injuries under these conditions, talk to an attorney about suing instead of using workers’ comp.
If you meet the standard to file a personal injury lawsuit against your boss, you may be entitled to additional damages. First, your injuries may be directly compensated with damages for pain and suffering. This aims to compensate your physical pain and discomfort, as well as your mental suffering. In addition, if your employer was very negligent and left extremely hazardous work conditions, you may be entitled to “punitive damages.” Courts issue punitive or “exemplary” damages to punish negligent parties by making them pay the victim additional money. Though these damages are rare, they may be available in dangerous workplace lawsuits.
Charlotte Lawyer for Dangerous Work Conditions Offering Free Consultations
If you or a loved one was injured because of dangerous workplace conditions, you may be entitled to compensation. Workers’ compensation is usually your first option to cover your medical bills and lost wages. However, if your injuries were caused by extreme negligence on the part of your employer, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit instead. Talk to a Charlotte workers’ comp lawyer today for help understanding your options and what compensation you may be entitled to. For a free consultation on your case, contact The Ramsay Law Firm, P.A., today at (704) 376-1616.