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THE WORK COMP BLOG

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Industrial Diseases and Workers Compensation

When most people think about workers compensation, they probably imagine claimants getting hurt in falls, equipment falling on them or a truck driver involved in an accident. Workers compensation can cover those kinds of incidents, but it also covers work related diseases and health conditions that can be even more harmful, but take much longer to develop.

Some of them include:

  • Hand/Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)
    HAVS is a painful and potentially disabling condition that affects the blood vessels and nerves in the fingers. Typical symptoms include attacks of severe tingling or numbness in the fingers which can cause significant limitations.
  • Whole Body Vibration (WBV)
    WBV is a chronic condition caused by long term exposure to vibrations in environments such as construction or mining. The most severe injuries include fractures to vertebrae and rupture of intervertebral discs.
  • Industrial Dermatitis
    Industrial Dermatitis is an inflammation or irritation of the skin caused by contact with a toxic agent or environmental factor like solvents, detergents and fuels.
  • Noise Induced Hearing Loss
    Noise Induced Hearing Loss (or industrial deafness) is caused by continued exposure to high intensity noise or a one time acoustic trauma. The condition can be permanent and typically affects the higher frequencies of the hearing range.
  • Occupational Respiratory Disease
    Occupational Respiratory Disease is a term for a range of conditions caused by work related exposure to harmful substances such as dust and gasses. These conditions include Industrial Asthma, Silicosis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Emphysema. Operations such as grinding, drilling or polishing can increase the risk of developing one or more of these diseases.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a work related disease or health condition, contact our Asheville law office to arrange a free consultation. Our attorneys’ fees are contingent upon recovering damages for your injuries and disabilities. You will not owe a fee unless we recover compensation for you.

P: 828-252-2852

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FREQUENTLY ASKED WORKERS' COMPENSATION QUESTIONS

Q. What if I cannot return to any gainful employment because of my work related injury?

A. If you can never return to any type of work because of your workers’ compensation injury, the Industrial Commission can award lifetime benefits. These benefits can include payment of your compensation rate for the rest of your life, plus future medical treatment associated with your WC injury. If the treating doctor determines you are disabled and never able to return to any work, you should apply for Social Security disability as well as any other applicable private or group disability plan. Since some disability benefits are offset or deducted by WC benefits, you should consult an experienced lawyer to minimize these reductions in net payments to you.

Q. Are back injuries that are not “accidents” covered by Workers’ Compensation?

A. Yes. Generally, a work injury must be an “accident” to be compensable. Back injuries do not have to meet this requirement. NC law accepts back injuries that do not result from “accidents” if the worker can trace the injury to a “specific traumatic incident.” The more precise the time of the incident, the more likely the back injury claim will be compensable. ANY back injury should be prompted reported and checked out by a qualified physician. The details of the incident should be given very carefully and completely to both employer and medical providers. Many back injuries do not become symptomatic until several days later.

Q. What if I am able to work after my workers’ compensation injury, but my earnings are significantly less than before my injury?

A. If you return to a job paying significantly less wages than pre-accident wages, you may be entitled to 66 2/3% of the wage differential. Since NC Law is based on actual earning capacity, a loss of ability to make money might be compensable. Claims based on lower earning capacity are difficult to prove and quantify. Most successful claims under this theory of WC Law require testimony from experts in the field of vocational analysis and labor markets.

Q. How long do I have to file a workers’ compensation claim?

A. As soon as possible, you should file a Form 18 (Notice of Accident or Injury) with the Industrial Commission and employer informing them that you wish to make a claim. While N.C. law requires this Form 18 to be filed within thirty (30) days, an absolute time limit of two (2) years may be applicable to your claim depending on the facts. After your claim is settled, time limits also exist for reopening the case.

How do I pay my lawyer?

All charges for legal services must be approved by the IC. Generally, lawyers charge a 25% flat fee for their services on WC cases. This fee is payable only if: Your claim is successful; and The IC approves the fee. Most lawyers also charge for copies, medical records received from medical providers, long distance calls and other expenses of handling your claim. These costs are usually owed whether or not your claim is successful.

Do Undocumented Workers Qualify for Workers Compensation?

Immigration reform and enforcement of immigration laws have become a political hot topic, especially in light of Arizona’s enactment of several laws aimed at getting more undocumented residents to leave the state. In North Carolina, that debate hasn’t impacted the state’s workers' compensation laws. Under §97-2 of the state’s Workers' Compensation Act, the definition of “employee” states in part, (E)very person engaged in an employment under any appointment or contract of hire or apprenticeship, express or implied, oral or written, including aliens, and also minors, whether lawfully or unlawfully employed, but excluding persons whose employment is both casual and not in the course of the trade, business, profession, or occupation of his employer… The key language is that the law covers “aliens…whether lawfully or unlawfully employed…” Big picture, national immigration issues took a back seat (if they were thought of at all) when the legislature wrote this section and when...

Our Video Library is not closed-captioned.  Instead of embedding our videos, we have created posts for them, where full transcripts of can be found.
Click on the links below to view the video and its transcript.

Workers’ Compensation Overview on Vimeo

Workers Compensation Overview

Workers’ Compensation Injuries and the Complex nature of the law on Vimeo

Workers’ Compensation Injuries and the Complex Nature of the Law

Waiting Periods for Workers’ Compensation Benefit Payments

Waiting Periods for Workers’ Compensation Benefits

NC Workers’ Compensation Elements of Settlement

NC Workers’ Compensation Elements of Settlement

Settlements of Workers’ Compensation Claims on Vimeo

Settlement of Workers’ Compensation Claims in North Carolina

Pre Existing Conditions and Work Comp in North Carolina

Pre-existing Conditions and Workers’ Compensation Claims

NC Workers’ Comp Covers Many Different Kinds of Injuries

NC Workers’ Comp Covers Many Different Kinds of Injuries

Reopening Workers’ Compensation Cases

Reopening Workers’ Compensation Cases

Can’t Return To Work After an Injury

Workers’ Compensation Benefits When You Cannot Return to Work

Specific Traumatic Injuries

Specific Traumatic Injuries Under Workers’ Compensation

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My first time meeting Mr.Gantt, he was very open and honest about what it takes to get my SSDI. He was optimistic about my case. He walked me through what he needed on my part. I was very happy with the results of my hearing. I am very pleased with Mr.Gantt and definitely recommend his…

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December 19, 2019

David Gantt and his staff were excellent very informative, kept me updated on every move and with this dedication I was able to win my Social Security hearing. Highly Recommend.

November 2019 AVVO Review

November 27, 2019

Amazing! When my husband was injured, we didn’t know who to turn to. I started googling to find a attorney, I called Mr. Gantt, I couldn’t be more thankful! The nightmare was over as Mr. Gantt and his amazing team handled everything from that very moment! Not only was professional but extremely caring, taking time…

November 2019 AVVO Review

November 27, 2019

David Gantt and his staff handled my disability claim and they were excellent. I highly recommend him, he is the best in Western North Carolina. Mrs. Kelly Reaves 5.0 stars November 5, 2019

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October 29, 2019

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2019 Google Review

August 7, 2019

The entire staff were welcoming, knowledgeable, helpful, and nice people! David was professional. He knew exactly what he was talking about and did what he said he was going to do. I have had a wonderful experience with this firm and will not hesitate to use them in the future.

2019 AVVO Review “Get ‘er done Gantt!”

July 10, 2019

I was very satisfied with David Gantt’s expertise and knowledge in all aspects handling my case. He dealt with all the paperwork and contacted all necessary providers to get my medical history – it was extremely hassle free! He communicated and counseled me on what to expect – being very forthcoming (he’s a straight shooter)!…

2019 Facebook review

June 5, 2019

I highly recommend Mr. Gantt. He is very kind and always professional. He prepared me for my disability hearing and calmed my nerves. Everything happened exactly as he said it would. I honestly do not think that I would have been approved for disability without his help. Also, his office staff were always ready to…

2019 Google Review

May 28, 2019

Mr. Gantt took good care of me. I will be forever grateful for him getting me the social security payments I need for a disability due to military service. He seems like a genuine compassionate good man. I highly recommend! ~C.M.

2019 Google Review

May 10, 2019

David and his entire staff are so nice and show compassion to everybody. He was there when I had any questions. David Gantt is the best attorney in his field, he goes above and beyond. I am extremely grateful to him and his staff. ~M.H.

2019 Google Review

May 9, 2019

Very nice and friendly service. They always answered any of my questions. Had a great experience working with them on my disability case. I highly recommend there services! After trying for 6 years and 2 unfavorable decisions, David and his team did a great job representing my case and won. I appreciate there time and…

2019 Google Review

May 9, 2019

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2019 Google Review

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Avvo Review 2019

May 7, 2019

Mr. Gantt is a highly compassionate and professional lawyer. He worked hard for me to show my disabilities. Always pleasant and supportive, while being very much on top of his cases. I recommend David Gantt to anyone. Great Attorney! 5 Stars. ~ Dakota

Google Review 2019

April 10, 2019

Wonderful client services..very friendly and willing to go the extra mile to help clients. highly recommend him for anyone needing assistance for the Disability SSI. ~T.D.

2019 Google Review

April 9, 2019

I am so grateful to Mr. Gantt & his staff. They have been so professional and knowledgeable. They’ve answered all of my questions and made a very stressful situation, bearable. I would not hesitate to recommend Mr. Gantt. He is knowledgeable, professional & caring. ~J.H.

Avvo Review 2019

April 8, 2019

Linda Calloway Mundy David Gantt is an outstanding Lawyer. I highly recommend him. He was beside me all the way and I would like to thank him. ~Linda 5 Stars

2019 Google Review

March 9, 2019

David Gantt and his staff are very professional, upfront, honest and nice. They made me feel at ease discussing my case. They helped me with every step of the way towards my disability approval. I would recommend them to anyone. They kept me updated on everything. Just wish I had contacted them sooner. ~D.P.S.

2019 Google Review

February 10, 2019

When I applied for Social Security Disability I saw no reason that I would need a lawyer since my case seemed clear. It wasn’t until the second rejection that I realized that I had no idea how the system worked. A couple of local lawyers I had contacted suggested that I talked to David Gantt…

2019 Google Review

February 10, 2019

This office is fantastic. The staff is helpful and friendly. He is honest with you about the pros and cons of your case. He works hard to get a positive result. ~S.G.

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