Industrial Accident Lawyer
The Raleigh industrial accident lawyers at Younce & Vtipil are committed to helping injured workers recover compensation for injuries suffered while working at industrial and manufacturing jobsites. Our legal team includes injury attorneys Chip Younce Jr., David E. Vtipil, and Joseph Baznik. Both Chip and David are North Carolina Board Certified Specialists in Workers’ Compensation Law. David has also been named among the nation’s Top 100 Injured Workers’ Attorneys and he has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America in the field of Workers’ Compensation Law.
To find out more about how we can help you seek the benefits you deserve after an industrial accident, contact us today for a free claim review and free advice about your legal options.
Common Accidents at NC Manufacturing Companies
A number of industries have manufacturing and other facilities in Wake County, in the Triangle and across the Piedmont and Eastern North Carolina. According to the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, some of the main types of manufacturers in the region include:
- Automotive, Truck and Heavy Machinery. Our state has a large number of manufacturers and suppliers engaged in assembling vehicles and manufacturing automotive components. As in every heavy industry, when employers fail to follow proper safety procedures, workers are put at risk of serious injuries.
- Energy Production and Distribution. Whether it’s at nuclear or coal power generation plants, at factories that construct turbines and other energy equipment, or working on the power grid, North Carolina’s large energy sector poses an injury risk to many workers.
- Furniture. Traditionally one of the leading industries in the state, furniture production remains a major employer in North Carolina. The equipment used in constructing home furnishings – and the repetitive stress inherent in the job – can cause serious workplace injuries when proper precautions are neglected.
- Textiles. Another traditional mainstay of North Carolina manufacturing, the textile industry continues to play an important role in the state’s economy. Workers in textile mills face accidents and occupational diseases if safety measures are not in place and enforced.
- Food Production and Processing. With a dense concentration of sprawling farms and high-volume slaughterhouses located particularly in Eastern North Carolina, our state is a leader in food production – especially pork and poultry. Unfortunately, many jobs in this sector expose workers to serious health risks.
- Plastics and Chemicals. Several major chemical and plastic manufacturers have operations in North Carolina. The dangerous nature of many of the substances used and produced at these facilities put workers at risk of injury and illness.
- Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals. A number of national and international pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies maintain research and production facilities in North Carolina, particularly in the Triangle. Although these sectors may be considered “high-tech,” workers are not immune from workplace accidents and injuries in this field.
- Aerospace and Defense. With roots in our state stretching back to the Wright brothers’ flight at Kitty Hawk, this is another high-tech industry with major operations in North Carolina. Despite the precision necessary in this field, workers can still suffer injuries when safety protocols are allowed to slip.
Types of Industrial and Factory Injuries
Despite the safety protections that are supposed to be in place – or because they are not enforced – industrial sites can produce accidents that result in some of the most serious workplace injuries in North Carolina.
Some examples of accidents and injuries that frequently occur in the industrial sector include:
- Burns, including those caused by fire, factory explosions, chemical exposure and exposure to steam
- Falls, including both falls from heights and falls on the same level (slip and fall or trip and fall)
- Overexertion injuries, including back injuries and shoulder injuries caused by heavy lifting and other strenuous activities
- Repetitive motion injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, which may be caused by performing the same action over and over again
- Crush injuries, such as those caused by entrapment in machinery
- Vehicle and equipment accidents, including not just car crashes but also accidents involving onsite equipment like forklifts and pallet jacks
- Exposure to toxic chemicals, biohazards or nuclear radiation
- Injuries caused by awkward bodily movements, such as twisting, reaching, grabbing or bending
- Hearing or vision loss
- Amputation (limb loss)
Workers’ Compensation Benefits and Third-Party Claims for People Hurt in Manufacturing Accidents
In North Carolina if you are injured in an industrial accident or any other work-related accident, generally your sole remedy is filing a workers’ compensation claim. Any other claim against your employer is barred except for some rare situations.
If someone other than your employer was responsible for your injuries, you may be able to sue that person or entity. These are called third-party claims. This may include, for example, a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the defective machine that caused your injury, or a negligence claim against a landowner who provided an unsafe work environment for contractors.
Often, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration will investigate industrial accidents. Their investigation can be very helpful in uncovering any third-party claims. It however does not replace an investigation done on your behalf and carried out in a timely manner. You need to be aware that in product liability claims, the product in question is often modified or destroyed soon after the accident. If this happens before an inspection is done on your behalf, the most crucial piece of evidence will be gone and so might be your third party claim.
If you have been injured on the job, you should speak with an attorney to find out about your rights under workers’ compensation law. A knowledgeable attorney can also advise you in regards to any third-party claim you may be able to bring.
What are industrial accidents?
Who is required to provide workers’ compensation coverage?
Any employer who employs three or more employees.
What must an employee do when an injury occurs?
Report the injury to the employer, in writing, immediately and no later than 30 days. Print out a Form 18, fill it out, sign it, and make two copies.
Mail the original Form 18 to: N.C. Industrial Commission
4334 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4334
Mail the first copy of Form 18
to your employer by certified mail, return receipt requested, and keep the receipt. This will be your proof of mailing.
Keep the second copy of this Form 18 for your file.
What benefits does an employee receive while out of work?
An employee is eligible to receive a “temporary total disability” check each week when completely unable to earn wages as the result of the work-related injury. The employee is eligible to receive total disability benefits until he or she is able to return to work. An employee is not due compensation for the first seven days of lost time unless the period of disability exceeds 21 total days. Therefore, payment for days 1-7 is made only after the total disability continues beyond 21 days.
When do I become eligible for lost wage compensation?
No compensation is due for the first seven days of lost time unless the disability exceeds 21 days. Therefore, the first check will not include payment for days 1-7. Payment for those days will be made should the disability continue beyond 21 days.
How long will I be eligible to receive lost-time weekly benefits?
You will receive wage benefits until you are able to return to work up to a maximum of 500 weeks with the potential to extend the wage benefits beyond 500 weeks.
What is a permanent partial disability rating?
Total or partial loss of use of a member of the body directly caused by a work-related injury may result in permanent partial disability. The Industrial Commission ultimately determines permanent partial disability based on the impairment ratings of physicians. When there is a permanent impairment to one or more of the parts of the body listed in the Workers’ Compensation Act, the employee may receive a set period of benefits without consideration of the employee’s ability to earn wages. Permanent partial disability benefits are generally based upon a combination of the impairment ratings, the parts of the employee’s body involved, and the employee’s average weekly wage.
When should an employee file for a hearing with the Industrial Commission?
There are many issues that may cause disputes between an employee and the employer or its insurance company that require the employee to file for a hearing with the Industrial Commission. In particular, when an employee’s claim is denied, the employee must file for a hearing within two years of the injury date or the ability to receive benefits may be lost. A hearing request is filed with the Industrial Commission by use of a Form 33.
How does an employee contact the Industrial Commission?
If an employee needs to contact the North Carolina Industrial Commission in Raleigh, the phone numbers are 1-800-688-8349 or 1-919-807-2501. The Industrial Commission’s website
can also be a helpful resource.