Suffering an injury to your leg or losing your leg to a workplace accident may make it impossible to return to work for some time. During that time, you may wonder how you will pay your medical bills and continue to support yourself and your family. If you suffered serious injuries to your leg or foot at work in North Carolina, you may be able to file for workers’ compensation and get the coverage you need to keep going.
The Charlotte workplace leg and foot injury attorneys at The Ramsay Law Firm may be able to help you file your workers’ comp claim and get you workers’ comp benefits. For a free consultation on your injury case, contact our Charlotte, North Carolina workers’ comp attorneys today at (704) 376-1616.
On the Job Leg, Foot, or Toe Injuries in NC
When you suffer a serious injury at work, the North Carolina workers’ compensation system may be able to get you payments for your injuries. The law generally forbids a lawsuit against your employer. Even if you meet an exception to this rule, you may not be able to recover for your injuries unless you can prove your employer did something wrong. With workers’ compensation, you only need to show that your injury was work-related. Both sudden injuries from accidents or catastrophes as well as long-term conditions brought on by years of labor or exposure can be covered by workers’ comp. This certainly includes injuries to your legs or feet.
Workers’ comp is designed to pay for medical expenses and to reimburse some lost wages while you are too injured to work. During your recovery, you may be entitled to have all medical expenses paid for, so long as you see the physician your employer requests or is approved by the Commission. You may also be entitled to weekly paychecks that total up to 2/3 of your typical wages, subject to certain max limits.
If you can return to work with injuries to certain parts of your body, § 97-31 of the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act sets “scheduled” payments you may receive for certain injuries. Loss or complete loss in function for feet, toes, and legs are listed on this schedule, and dictate the number of weeks of wage-loss benefits you can receive after your healing period. For the loss of any of these body parts, you can receive the following number of weeks’ worth of benefits:
- Big toe – 35 weeks
- Any other toe – 10 weeks
- Foot – 144 weeks
- Leg – 200 weeks
Losing both feet or both legs counts as permanent disability and may entitle you to much longer benefits. There are different periods during which you can receive disability benefits. The law sets an upper limit to how long you can receive benefits for. After that, workers’ compensation expects that your injury will be healed, and that you might be able to return to work. If you are permanently disabled to some extent, you may qualify for “permanent partial disability.” This often applies if your injuries are healed fully, and you have only lost partial function. For instance, if you lose half function in both legs, permanently, you may be entitled to half the standard benefits for loss of both legs. Similarly, scheduled payments may be reduced, so that loss of half a toe may pay five weeks of benefits instead of the full 10.
Can You Sue for Workplace Injuries in North Carolina?
The workers’ compensation system is in place to prevent numerous lawsuits and help injured workers’ get compensation without having to go to court. To accomplish that goal, workers’ compensation is known as the “exclusive remedy” for workplace injuries. This means that to get any compensation for a workplace injury, you must file with workers’ comp. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule.
If you were injured under certain circumstances, you may be able to sue instead of using North Carolina’s workers’ comp system. First, if you were injured because of extremely serious negligence or intentional actions, you might be able to go straight to court. A lawsuit under these circumstances may be able to achieve higher damages for pain and suffering and, potentially, punitive damages against a negligent employer. Second, if your employer does not have workers’ comp insurance, you may also avoid the workers’ comp system. Since they could not provide workers’ comp payments anyway, the law allows you to sue these employers. Lastly, if you work for the federal government in North Carolina, you may be required to use the federal workers’ comp system instead of North Carolina’s system.
Get Legal Help from Our North Carolina Foot and Leg Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one was injured in a workplace accident, talk to an attorney today. You may be entitled to file workers’ compensation claims for foot, leg, or toe injuries. This can help you get compensation for medical expenses and lost wages while you recover from your injuries. For a free consultation on your case, contact the Charlotte foot and leg injury lawyers at The Ramsay Law firm, P.A., today at (704) 376-1616.