THE WORK COMP BLOG

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Pre-existing Conditions and Workers’ Compensation Claims

 

David Gantt is a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Workers Compensation Law. He represents individuals in matters regarding workers’ compensation and Social Security disability benefits matters. Contact David Gantt at 828-252-2852 to schedule a consultation about your unique circumstance.

TRANSCRIPT OF VIDEO

North Carolina law is very open to aggravation, or acceleration, or exacerbations of pre-existing conditions. What we mean here is that if you have a bad back or maybe it had surgery on your back but you can work. And you work for a period of time and then you have an injury that aggravates that back condition, then workers’ comp law in North Carolina requires the employer to pick up from there. So, in other words, they buy the whole injury. There some arguments that insurance companies make that it should be pro-rated, but the general idea of workers’ comp in North Carolina is that it’s a wage replacement law, and it’s all about getting back to the same wage you earn before. If you were able to work with your injury, and with your preexisting injury, and you aggravate that in some way and you’re unable to work at all, the general rule is that North Carolina will recognize it and you can be paid for the whole injury that you had.

 

P: 828-252-2852

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FREQUENTLY ASKED WORKERS' COMPENSATION QUESTIONS

Q. What can I do if my workers’ compensation checks are late?

A. You should call the insurance carrier and ask (1) whether your check was mailed? and (2) if so, when it was mailed?. Weekly workers’ compensation checks are generally late because either the postal service is slow or your check has "fallen off the diary". Insurance company program computer to print checks according to an automatic diary for a specific number of weeks. When that number of weeks is over, your check “falls off the diary” and must be reset for additional weeks if checks continue to be due. An immediate call to the insurance adjuster should be sufficient to reset the check diary. If checks are regularly late, you should consult a qualified lawyer to take more aggressive action through the NC Industrial Commission.

What if I have problems after I settle my claim?

DOL Website/p Employment Discrimination Bureau Most insurance companies will try to clinch or close out the claim when they offer a settlement. This means you can never reopen your claim and cannot get any more medical treatment paid by the carrier. Other settlements can be reached that allow you to reopen the claim for at least a two (2) year period after settlement if your condition changes. Whether you should "clinch" or leave the case open for the two (2) year period is an important decision that should not be made without consulting a lawyer.

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. What if I have problems after I settle my workers’ compensation claim?

A. Most insurance companies will try to “clinch” or close out the claim when they offer a settlement. This means you can never reopen your claim and cannot get any more medical treatment paid by the carrier. Other settlements can be reached that allow you to reopen the claim for at least a two (2) year period after settlement if your condition changes. Whether you should “clinch” or leave the case open for the two (2) year period is an important decision that should not be made without a complete evaluation of how any future medical expenses will be handled. Medicare and Medicaid have the right to question future medical expenses that result from you work injury.

What benefits can I receive under WC?

The employer is normally responsible for any medical expense your doctor feels will make you better. This normally includes prescriptions, medical supplies, TENS units, crutches, braces, physical therapy and any other expenses you would not have incurred but for your injury. These expenses are payable by the employer until the case is settled. While you have a general right to choose your own doctor for treatment, the insurance company retains certain rights to pre-authorize medical treatment. You should never go to a doctor without obtaining insurance pre-authorization. You should also never let an insurance company force their doctors on you without your approval. A rehabilitation nurse assigned by the insurance company does NOT have the right to be in your exam room with the doctor. Lost Wages In N.C., the employer is responsible for paying you only 66 2/3% of your gross average wages, up to a maximum that changes each year....

Q. How do lawyers get paid for handling WC cases?

A. Generally, lawyers will charge a contingent fee of 25% of the settlement. Contingent fees are payable only if the case is successful. While most fees are set at the settlement of the case, some fees are collected while the claim is pending. Charging legal fees at any time without approval of the NC Industrial Commission is a Class 1 misdemeanor crime in our State. Most lawyers will advance the expenses of a claim with the understanding that these costs will be recovered when the matter is settled.

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

~ What Our Clients Say ~

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

The whole office is very respectful. Answered all my questions. So Glad they were there cause I had no clue after fighting for 2 years. Thank you guys soo much. ~K.H.

2019 Google Review

May 9, 2019

I am very grateful to David Gantt & his staff! They were wonderful and made the confusing process much easier to understand. I wish I had contacted them sooner. They were super to work with and such nice people! Thank you so much! ~K.S.

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.

Martindale Review 2019

January 21, 2019

5.0/5.0 in Social Security. David was very professional, pleasant and focused on me and my situation while I was in his office. He did not allow interruptions. His office staff was helpful and readily available when I had questions.

Martindale Review 2018

October 8, 2018

Recommended 5.0/5.0 in Social Security. I highly recommended David Gantt. He is a kind and generous person. He puts you at ease from the minute that you meat him. Very efficient and does what he says he’ll do. His staff is awesome too. Trust me… You can’t go wrong with David Gantt.

~ What Our Clients Say ~