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Why employees avoid filing workers' compensation claims

When you suffer an injury on the job, it is important to report it as soon as possible to your employer. Not doing so could hinder your chances to receive workers' compensation benefits, which are crucial for paying your medical bills and other expenses, such as lost wages, that result from your on-the-job injury.

However, some employees actually avoid filing a workers' compensation claim. There are several reasons for this, but it usually goes back to fear of employer retaliation. Here is some more information about why employees may avoid filing a claim after sustaining an on-the-job injury, and reasons why their reasoning may not be accurate:

What is an Act of God denial?

If someone told you that workers' compensation helps workers in every situation when they suffer an injury on the job regardless of fault, that is mostly true. There are a few loopholes, and one them has to do with the term "Act of God."

It occurs when a workers' compensation insurer decides not to pay a claim, saying that the worker's injury stemmed from an Act of God - an unforeseen event that was impossible to plan for. Natural disasters such as earthquakes and tornadoes may fall under this category in some instances. However, even if an insurer denied your claim on this basis, there may be hope.

Most common injuries teachers experience on the job

While being a teacher may not appear to be a dangerous profession at first glance, there is the potential for extreme injuries. While schools should naturally take whatever actions are necessary to protect instructors and students against unsafe conditions, anything can happen. Take the recent case of an 11-year-old student who attacked a teacher with a screwdriver

After an injury, a teacher should bring the wound to the attention of the supervisor. Teachers are eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits, but they should remain aware of the dangers to adequately avoid them when possible. 

Can I sue my employer for a work-related injury?

While caring for a mentally ill patient, the patient unexpectedly snapped and physically assaulted you. You later discovered that your employer had known the patient had a violent history against his peers and other caregivers, but failed to report the danger to you. You believe your employer should pay for your medical expenses, and you should also be able to hold the company accountable for the negligence. Do you and other North Carolina residents have a right to sue an employer instead of accepting workers’ compensation?

In addition to covering your medical bills and lost wages due to a workplace injury, workers’ compensation exists to protect employers from lawsuits, as FindLaw explains. In most cases, you would not be able to sue your employer, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.

Construction workers and back injuries

As a North Carolina construction worker, you likely lift, hold and carry heavy equipment and materials every day at work. Your back consequently suffers strain almost every hour of your work day. This strain builds up over time, often resulting in a musculoskeletal disorder and/or back injury. Fully 25 percent of all work-related injuries are musculoskeletal in nature, and 40 percent of these come from back injuries.

You experience a lot of pain with any type of musculoskeletal disorder because it affects the muscles, tendons and nerves in your back. Often you must take substantial time off work to recover. In 2014, construction workers took an average of eight days off each time they suffered a back injury, accumulating over $46 million in lost wages.

When nursing home residents injure you

For the average person, the phrase "nursing home injuries" likely evokes an image of things like an elderly person falling in a nursing home. It is true that this type of thing can happen at nursing homes.

However, there is another type of injury, and that is when nursing home residents injure nurses' aides or other nursing home staff; for example, biting, hitting or choking them. What is a normal reaction if you are one of these injured workers?

Auto mechanics: 3 common injuries to know about

As a car mechanic, you know your job is important. You fix vehicles to keep people on the road so they can work and go to school. In addition to being valuable to your community, your job is also dangerous. In fact, 91 mechanics died at work in 2015.

You encounter various workplace hazards as an automotive technician. Here is a list of some frequent injuries that plague mechanics who repair and maintain automobiles.

The grave consequences of asbestos exposure

As a North Carolina worker, you may inhale microscopic asbestos fibers on a daily basis without even realizing it. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found in numerous industrial and consumer products. Its superior insulating properties and its resistance to fire and flame make it a favorite component of construction materials, but it also is in brake pads and other automotive and consumer products.

The problem with asbestos is that it deteriorates over time and also becomes easily disturbed by such things as saws, drills, sanders, screw drivers and other common tools. Unlike most minerals, when asbestos breaks down, it does not become normal dust that a dust mask will prevent you from inhaling. Instead, it turns into microscopic fibers that disperse over a wide area at the slightest air current. Once in your lungs and elsewhere in your body, these fibers build up over time, oftentimes resulting in mesothelioma, an incurable malignant cancer.

What to do when your employer denies your workers' comp claim

Many employers will want to get out of paying an employee's medical bills in a workers' comp case. This matter becomes even more complicated in North Carolina where lawmakers recently shifted the burden of proof to fall more on the employee's side than the employer's. 

There are many reasons why an employer will deny a workers' comp claim. Some of the most common include believing the employee did not experience a serious injury or seeing the employee not having to take time off work to recover. There are numerous other reasons why your claim received a denial, but the most important thing for you to do right away is to contact your employer's workers' comp insurance provider. You may also need to get in touch with an experienced attorney if the matter seems more complicated than you anticipated. 

Which North Carolina jobs are the most dangerous?

As a North Carolina worker, you expect to work in a safe workplace. You certainly do not expect to die from an on-the-job injury. Sadly, however, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that North Carolina workplaces are more dangerous today than they were a decade ago.

In 2016, the latest year for which statistics are available, 174 North Carolina workers sustained a fatal work injury. This was the highest number of workplace fatalities recorded in the past decade, and the fourth year in a row that their numbers increased. From a 10-year low of 109 on-the-job fatalities in 2013, the number climbed to 137 in 2014, 150 in 2015, and topped out at 174 in 2016.

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