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restaurant-employee-injuriesRestaurant workers have fast-paced jobs that require many hours of standing up, working around hot stovetops and ovens, and using sharpened kitchen tools. If you have suffered a serious injury while working in a Raleigh restaurant, such as a severe burn or deep cut, you should receive paid medical care and income replacement benefits through your restaurant employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. If you are denied benefits, it’s important to understand the reason.

You should speak with our experienced Raleigh workers’ compensation attorneys about your rights if your employer is disputing your right to benefits after a restaurant injury. Our lawyers at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., have decades of experience handling North Carolina workers’ compensation appeals. We will answer your questions and explain whether you have a valid claim for compensation. Attorneys Robert C. “Chip” Younce Jr. and David E. Vtipil are both board-certified specialists in worker compensation law. Board certification by the North Carolina State Bar signifies that an attorney has attained additional education and passed a written examination in a particular area of law.

Worker’s Comp Benefits for Injured Workers in Restaurants

An injured restaurant worker may qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits starting in the second week that he or she is out of work. Unfortunately, some restaurants try to deny valid workplace injury claims.

Injured restaurant workers who have been denied benefits have a legal right to appeal the denial. Some hospitality and food service industry workers do not collect the workers’ comp benefits they deserve because they try to work through North Carolina’s complicated workers’ compensation appeals process without help.

Depending on the facts of your restaurant injury, our attorneys will:

  • Collect accident reports and medical records to document your workplace injury and its effect on your ability to work
  • Request to change your doctor if the insurance company has denied your request
  • Appeal a workers’ compensation decision if your claim has been denied
  • Represent you at a hearing
  • Help you decide whether a settlement offer is fair and reasonable based on your injuries, including how the settlement may affect your right to future benefits if your condition changes

Talking with our knowledgeable attorneys about your restaurant injury puts you under no obligation to hire us. A consultation will give you more information about your legal options and it is free. If we represent you, you can expect individual hands-on attention from our legal team. Whether you decide to work with us or not, you will have a better understanding of your legal rights from a consultation. Call today for a free consultation.

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Types of Restaurant Injuries

Working in a restaurant can be dangerous. The type of food service injuries that you face as a restaurant worker depend on the specific type of job you have.

The risks include:

Most businesses with more than three employees in North Carolina are required to have workers’ compensation insurance to cover medical care and lost income caused by workplace injuries. Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance. Regardless of who caused a workplace accident, injured employees should be covered by workers’ compensation.

How to Prevent Injuries In Restaurants

There are many hazards in restaurants:

  • Restaurant employers have a legal responsibility to protect the safety and health of their workers. Employers must provide workplaces that are free of recognized hazards and train workers to recognize hazards that can cause injuries. Meanwhile, employees are responsible for following safe work practices.
  • Spills and any ice dropped on the floor around the ice maker should be wiped up immediately to prevent slip and fall injuries.
  • Restaurants should post warning signs at wet floor areas and provide non-slip mats in areas that tend to be wet.
  • Restaurant workers should wear protective equipment and use caution when using deep fryers or working around hot oil.
  • Employees should be properly trained how to operate and clean powered equipment with rotating blades such as slicers, choppers, and mixers to avoid cuts and amputation injuries.
  • Workers may suffer burns while operating preparing hot foods or beverages. Workers should be trained to operate safely equipment that makes hot drinks or dispenses hot liquids.
  • Restaurant workers who carry trays and dishes should limit the number of items they carry and avoid awkward postures such as an unsupported elbow that increases the risk of injury.
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Types of Compensation After a Restaurant Injury

A restaurant worker who sustains a serious injury on the job may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits including paid medical care and partial replacement of lost wages. Most employers in North Carolina are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This company-paid insurance protects employees who are hurt while performing their jobs or develop work-related illnesses such as respiratory illness from exposure to industrial cleansers.

If you suffer an injury at a restaurant, it is important to inform your employer of the injury as soon as possible. You should report the injury in writing to your employer within 30 days of the workplace accident or the discovery of your injury if it developed gradually. If you are unable to notify your employers yourself because you are hospitalized, you should ask a family member to send a letter on your behalf. You should keep a copy of the notification letter.

You should follow the instructions of the doctor and keep follow-up appointments. If you fail to follow the orders of the doctor provided by your employer, it may put in jeopardy your workers’ compensation benefits. If your employer disputes your claim, you will need to show that you have complied with the doctor’s orders and taken the necessary steps to recover from your injury.

In addition to workers’ compensation, you may have other options in certain circumstances. If your injury was caused by a defective piece of restaurant equipment such as a slicer that did not have safety guards, you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer of the defective product and seek compensation for your injury. You generally cannot sue your own employer for a workplace injury, but you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against a restaurant equipment supplier and an equipment manufacturer.

Pursuing a personal injury claim against a manufacturer that produced an unsafe product requires a thorough investigation to identify the manufacturing or design defect and how it caused your injury. An attorney may hire industrial engineers or product safety experts who can discuss the defect and how your injury occurred. This type of lawsuit requires working with a law firm that has the resources to conduct a thorough investigation and build a strong case.

Benefits of Workers Compensation for Restaurants

As an added benefitrestaurant owners can generally deduct their workers‘ compensation on their federal taxes. Workers‘ compensation insurance covers medical expenses, physical therapy expenses, and lost wages for employees who get sick or injured through the course of their work duties.

Options For Undocumented Immigrants After an Injury in a Restaurant

Many undocumented workers work in restaurants and the food service industry in Raleigh and throughout North Carolina.

If you are an undocumented worker and you have been injured on the job in a restaurant, you can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits regardless of your immigration status.

It is important to have a knowledgeable lawyer who represents injured restaurant workers review your restaurant injury and explain your legal rights. Your private conversation with an attorney will not affect your immigration status. We will discuss with you your legal options. There is no cost for the initial consultation.

At Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., our legal staff is bilingual. Our staff can discuss your legal rights with you in the language in which you feel most comfortable discussing legal matters, whether Spanish or English. To learn more about how we can help Spanish-speaking injured workers, Haga click aquí.

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How Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Can Help

Our Raleigh workers’ comp lawyers at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., have decades of experience guiding injured employees through the North Carolina workers’ compensation system. We have the experience to help restaurant employees seek the full benefits they deserve. If your valid claim has been rejected, we will fight for you. We will investigate your restaurant injury and apply our knowledge to pursue your workers’ compensation benefits

At Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., our Raleigh restaurant injury attorneys are committed to fighting for your full benefits so you can focus on recovering from your injury. Our legal team includes two attorneys who have special training in the area of North Carolina workers’ compensation law.

Call us today and schedule a free consultation to talk directly with an attorney.

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