THE WORK COMP BLOG

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Workplace Violence and Workers’ Compensation

If you have suffered a serious injury due to an act of violence of the course of performing your work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, whether that violence was committed by a fellow employee, member of management, customer or member of the public while committing a crime.

About two (2) million Americans are victims of workplace violence each year, according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The agency defines workplace violence as any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening, disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.

Homicide is the fourth-leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the United States (behind motor vehicle accidents, contact with objects or equipment and falls, slips and trips), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. The report states that of the 4,628 fatal workplace injuries that occurred in the United States in 2012, 463 were workplace homicides. Homicide is the leading cause of death for women in the workplace, according to OSHA.

Factors that increase the risk of violence

OSHA states there are factors that can increase the risk of violence for workers at certain worksites and types of jobs.

  • Exchanging money with the public.
  • Working with volatile, unstable people.
  • Working alone or in isolated areas.
  • Providing services and care.
  • Working where alcohol is served.
  • Time of day and location of work, such as working late at night or in areas with high crime rates.

In addition to those who exchange money with the public, delivery drivers, healthcare professionals, public service workers, customer service agents, law enforcement personnel, and those who work alone or in small groups are at higher risk of violence, according to OSHA.

Factors that decrease the risk of violence

Your employer can limit the risk of injury due to workplace violence by being proactive.

  • Establishing and enforcing a zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence covering all workers, patients, clients, visitors, contractors and anyone else who may come in contact with employees.
  • Screening out job candidates with a history of violent crimes.
  • Enforcing a policy of not allowing employees to bring weapons to work.
  • Installing security systems or enacting procedures to discourage criminal activity at the workplace.
  • Creating an Employee Assistance Program that allows employees facing personal crises to get professional help before they lash out at a fellow employee.

If you’ve been injured because of an act of workplace violence, contact our office so we can discuss your situation, possible legal remedies and whether you might qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.

P: 828-252-2852

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FREQUENTLY ASKED WORKERS' COMPENSATION QUESTIONS

Q. Can I draw Workers’ Compensation benefits if my work injury only aggravated a pre existing condition I had?

A. Yes. North Carolina Workers’ Compensation law does NOT mandate that your disabling condition be caused by your accident. You may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits if your work injury aggravates, accelerates, or significantly contributes a pre existing condition that makes you unable to return to your job. The law that applies to pre existing condition changes regularly. You should consult a qualified lawyer to discuss the current law on this complicated subject.

Q. My spouse was killed while working on the job. Can I make a claim in addition to workers’ compensation?

A. Possibly. You would likely have a workers’ compensation claim regardless of how your spouse’s fatal injury happened. If the cause of death was due to the negligence of a third person, you will probably have a wrongful death claim in addition to the workers’ compensation action. You should consult a lawyer familiar with both personal injury and workers’ compensation law to make sure that the claims are brought in proper legal procedure. Failure to coordinate multiple claims could result in enforceable liens on one or both of the insurance payouts.

Q. How much $ will I get from WC due to an on-the-job injury?

A. NC law permits an injured worker to receive 66%of his or her pre injury gross wages for each week they are unable to work. This salary continuation or temporary total disability (TTD) payment continues until the worker returns to work at the same job or a “suitable” position making similar wages. If the worker cannot return to a job making similar wages, they are entitled to additional benefits depending on the extent of loss of earning capacity. Each year, the maximum TTD is increased. In 2005, the maximum TTD was $704.

Q. Can I draw private disability checks while also receiving workers’ compensation checks for disability?

A. Yes. The terms of your private disability checks are contractual and control whether these payments are pro-rated or changed by the receipt of workers’ compensation checks. NC law requires full payment of workers’ compensation checks regardless of private disability and/or Social Security checks for the same disability.

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.

Q. Can I draw Workers’ Compensation weekly checks and Social Security checks at the same time?

A. Yes, but your Social Security check will be reduced or offset by the amount of your Workers’ Compensation check. Social Security law mandates an offset of disability checks when your combined income totals 80% of more of your pre injury earnings. Federal law requires that you report all income or benefits that you receive while receiving Social Security checks. The offset or reduction in Social Security benefits can be lessened or minimized by careful planning and legal wording in your Workers’ Compensation settlement. You should consult a qualified lawyer to help you maximize your payments from each source.

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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2019 Google Review

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