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workers compensation for nursesWhile on the job, nurses face risks and hazards that can lead to injuries or illnesses. Fortunately, workers’ compensation provides nurses with financial benefits to help them recover from work-related injuries or occupational illnesses. However, employers and workers’ comp insurers sometimes create challenges for employees who seek the benefits they need and deserve.

If you’re employed as a nurse and become injured or ill because of your work, let a Raleigh workers’ compensation attorney from Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. advocate for your right to workers’ comp benefits. Contact our firm for a free initial case review to discuss your legal options with our team.

What to Do if You’ve Been Injured on the Job as a Nurse

If you’ve been hurt at work as a nurse, you must protect your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. You also need to prepare to fight to get the benefits you’re entitled to from your employer if certain roadblocks arise. To strengthen your case, do the following after a workplace injury or illness:

  • Report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. In North Carolina, you must provide your employer with written notice of your injury within 30 days, or you might jeopardize your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.
  • Make sure you seek medical attention and treatment for your injuries. Contact your employer to see if they have a designated healthcare provider or an approved list of providers for workers’ compensation treatment.
  • Follow your doctor’s treatment plan and instructions, including any restrictions they place on your activities. If you put off treatment or engage in activities beyond your restrictions, your employer might conclude that you’ve recovered, stop benefits payments, and require you to return to work.
  • Keep receipts for any out-of-pocket medical expenses. Find copies of your pay stubs or income statements to calculate your pre-injury average weekly wage.

Finally, contact our Raleigh workers’ compensation lawyers as soon as possible. We can help secure your benefits, or if your employer or the workers’ compensation insurer has denied your claim or benefits request, we can fight for what you deserve.

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How Can Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Help with Your Claim?

Although state law guarantees workers’ compensation for nurse jobs involving injuries or occupational diseases, some employers and insurers make it challenging for nurses to obtain their benefits. Pursuing your legal rights may require considerable time and energy, and you may find it difficult to pursue your claims while focusing on your medical treatment or making ends meet if you cannot work. While you concentrate on your physical recovery, let our workers’ compensation attorneys advocate for your legal rights and interests by:

  • Investigating the underlying facts and circumstances of your claim to obtain evidence needed to prove your eligibility for workers’ comp
  • Documenting your injuries/illnesses and medical expenses and calculating your average weekly wage to ensure you receive the full benefits you’re owed under the workers’ comp system
  • Filing your claim forms and pursuing a formal hearing on your claim, if necessary
  • Negotiating with your employer or the workers’ compensation insurer to pursue a favorable resolution of your claim or advocating on your behalf before the North Carolina Industrial Commission or, if necessary, in court

For years, injured workers across North Carolina have turned to our firm to represent them in their workers’ compensation claims because:

  • We have the experience, knowledge, and resources to take on the most challenging cases against the largest corporations and insurers in North Carolina and the U.S. Our firm’s state-of-the-art case tracking system allows us to leave no stone unturned in pursuing your legal rights.
  • We take a personalized approach to client service. When you choose us to help with your workers’ compensation claim, you will work one-on-one with the same legal team throughout your case. Because most of our attorneys and staff have worked here for a decade or more, you won’t have to worry about getting passed around to different attorneys or staffers because of firm turnover.
  • We strive to provide responsive communication. You can contact our workers’ compensation attorneys online or by phone, day or night, any day of the week. We also have staff fluent in Spanish.

We understand the stress you feel while recovering from a workplace injury or occupational illness. We work hard to shoulder as much of the burden as possible by dealing with workers’ compensation insurance companies so you can focus on healing.

Are You Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?

In North Carolina, any worker employed by a business has the right to obtain workers’ compensation for a work-related injury or illness. Workers’ compensation rules require businesses with three or more employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance or self-insure to pay for workers’ comp benefits. However, the workers’ compensation system guarantees benefits for any worker employed for compensation, even if employed part-time.

A worker must have an employer-employee relationship with their employer to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Independent contractors or volunteers aren’t eligible for workers’ comp for injuries or illnesses they suffered while working for a business.

To obtain workers’ compensation, an employee must suffer an injury or illness in the course and scope of their employment. An injury or illness occurs during employment when a worker gets hurt or ill while furthering their employer’s business. An injury or illness does not have to happen at the employer’s workplace. Work-related injuries or illnesses can occur when at or traveling to/from a client site or when traveling to or from a work-related function.

As a “no-fault” system, workers’ compensation does not require an injured or ill employee to prove that their employer’s negligence, recklessness, intentional conduct, or other legal fault caused the injury or illness. Instead, an employee becomes eligible for workers’ comp benefits if they can prove that their injury or illness arose in the course and scope of their employment.

Workers' Compensation Nurse Benefits

Under the North Carolina workers’ compensation system, a nurse who suffers a workplace injury or occupational disease may receive various defined financial benefits, depending on the nature and severity of their injury or illness. Workers’ compensation for nurses includes the following benefits:

  • Medical benefits: Workers’ compensation pays for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment, pain management, and physical/occupational therapy to treat work-related injuries or illnesses. Employers have the right to select the healthcare providers who provide covered treatment for injured or ill employees, or they may provide employees with a list of approved providers to choose from.
  • Travel reimbursement: Workers who travel over 20 miles for medical appointments or procedures may receive money to help cover travel expenses.
  • Lost wage benefits: Employees who miss more than seven work days can receive partial reimbursement of lost earnings equal to two-thirds of their pre-injury/illness average weekly wage. Suppose an employee returns to a lower-paying modified duty role. In that case, they may receive partial reimbursement of the difference between their pre-injury average weekly wage and their current lower income.
  • Disability benefits: Workers who continue to suffer from a disability after reaching maximum medical improvement may receive financial payments based on the type and severity of a disability. Permanent loss of a body part or bodily function may entitle a worker to specific payments. However, workers who remain completely disabled from gainful employment may continue to receive lost wage benefits for as long as they cannot return to work.
  • Death benefits: Surviving dependents of a nurse who dies due to a work-related injury or illness may receive weekly payments equal to two-thirds of the nurse’s average weekly wage plus up to $10,000 toward reasonable funeral and burial expenses.

Common Causes of Job-Related Injuries for Nurses

The healthcare industry has unique risks of injury and illness for workers, especially nurses on the front line of patient care. Some of the top causes of work-related injuries or occupational illnesses for nurses include:

  • Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents
  • Falling objects, such as heavy boxes or items falling off shelves
  • Medical equipment that tips over
  • Exposure to heat sources, live electrical wires, caustic chemicals, or radiation sources
  • Overexertion, including from attempting to lift or move patients
  • Repetitive movements that cause repetitive stress injuries
  • Workplace violence, including assaults by co-workers, patients, or patients’ visitors
  • Exposure to infectious diseases, such as STDs or COVID-19
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Get Help from Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

When you’ve suffered a work-related injury or occupational disease due to your work as a nurse, you may have the right to receive workers’ compensation benefits to assist with your recovery. Contact our Raleigh workers’ compensation lawyers for a free, no-obligation consultation to get legal help when your employer has denied, restricted, or terminated your workers’ comp benefits. Our workers’ compensation lawyers can fight to secure the benefits you need to treat your injuries or illnesses so you can get back to work and your regular life.

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