The North Carolina workers’ compensation system establishes a legal framework for the awarding of financial benefits to part-time or full-time workers who are seriously hurt on the job. Unfortunately, some employers take advantage of complexities in the system to unfairly deny valid claims, saving themselves money at the expense of innocent disabled workers. When an employer denies a claim without valid reasoning, it can leave the victim and their family financially stranded, unable to earn wages or even pay for basic medical treatment. Fortunately, there is legal recourse for an injured worker who finds himself or herself in this type of situation. If you believe that your employer improperly denied your claim for work injury benefits, the workman’s compensation attorneys of the Ramsay Law Firm may be able to help.
Workman’s Comp Fraud Schemes that Employers Use to Deny Claims
Employees, employers, and insurance companies can all commit workers’ compensation fraud. However, because the laws that regulate workers’ compensation are so complicated, it’s not always easy for a worker to tell when their employer is breaking the law – especially not while he or she is distracted by the pain, impairment, and emotional distress caused by the injury.
If you are unfamiliar with basic workers’ compensation requirements, you are at higher risk of being scammed or ripped off by an unethical business owner. Therefore, as a worker, it’s important that you learn how to identify some common types of employer fraud, which will help you to protect yourself and exercise your rights more effectively. Here are two of the most common tactics that employers use to deny disabled workers their day in court:
- Intentionally misclassifying employees as independent contractors. Employers can slash their workers’ compensation premiums (and reduce their tax liabilities) by claiming that employees are actually “independent contractors.” This frequently leads to deliberate misclassification, particularly if the company is struggling to stay afloat financially. However, the intentional misclassification of employees is a form of fraud which can result in the employer being heavily fined. If your employer has told you that you do not qualify for workers’ comp because you are an independent contractor, do not take the statement at face value: discuss your situation with an attorney to rule out the possibility that you were deliberately misclassified.
- Failing to purchase workers’ compensation insurance coverage. The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act generally requires businesses to purchase and provide coverage for eligible employees. Nonetheless, business owners sometimes defy this requirement by refusing to carry the mandatory coverage, leaving their workers stuck without benefits when a workplace accident occurs. If your employer tells you that he or she is “not required” to carry workers’ comp insurance, be sure to confirm the facts with an attorney. If your employer lied and violated the law, an attorney can help you report the violation to the state’s Industrial Commission by filing a document called Form 18. You can look up information about your employer’s insurance coverage by using the Industrial Commission’s Insurance Coverage Search System, which is a simple online search tool that can be accessed through the Commission’s website.
Unfortunately, even employees who have sustained catastrophic, seemingly obvious injuries – including injuries that will require long-term management or permanent care – can find themselves at the receiving end of an unexpected workers’ compensation claim denial. This can be a shocking, frustrating experience, but it’s important not to panic, threaten your employer, or give up hope. If your claim was denied without valid reason, talk to an attorney who can help you file for a hearing to dispute the denial.
Charlotte, NC Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Can Help if Your Employer Broke the Law
Just because your workers’ compensation claim has been denied does not mean you have no further options. If your claim was rejected, don’t give up hope. Instead, speak with the experienced workers’ comp lawyers of the Ramsay Law Firm about your legal options. We can investigate your situation to determine whether your employer broke the law – and if we discover that your rights were violated, we are prepared to take aggressive action to help you receive the fair benefits that you and your family deserve. Our legal team will work tirelessly to compile medical evidence and locate witnesses who can support your claim. Additionally, we can advise when you can consider light-duty work, which can open up a source of income to help alleviate the financial strain.
At the Ramsay Law Firm, we are led by a Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist and have more than 20 years of experience fighting for work injury victims in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. To talk about a denied workers’ compensation claim in a free consultation, contact us online, or call the Ramsay Law Firm at (704) 376-1616.