M. Reid Acree, JR. M. Reid Acree, JR.

Salisbury Workers' Compensation Attorneys

An unfortunate reality is that North Carolina workers and employees are injured and killed on the job every day.  In some cases those injury and death claims are accepted by the employer’s workers’ compensation carrier as “compensable,” or “payable” under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act (“the Act”).   In many cases, however, the claims are denied, regardless of whether the denial is proper.  Insurance companies and self-insured employers have every reason to deny your claim and/or limit your benefit recovery.  It is called MONEY.  Thus, recovery  of medical and wage-loss benefits can be difficult, if not seemingly impossible.

The insurance company or self-insured employer does not care if its denial of your claim is causing you harm such as having no place to live, not being able to afford food and not being able to get medical care for your work-related condition.  Unfortunately the  law surrounding workers’ compensation claims is complex and it has very specific procedural and time deadlines, which if you do not meet could bar your claim.   Statistics from the North Carolina Industrial Commission, the North Carolina Agency overseeing workers’ compensation claims, show that only 5% of injured workers are represented by attorneys in their workers’ compensation claims.  That means that 95% of you are going along unrepresented and surely the insurance carrier and employer have the upper hand. 

You need to level the playing field and hire an attorney whose goal is to look out only for the rights of injured workers.  You need to make sure that that attorney is an expert in the area of workers’ compensation law and that that attorney is respected throughout North Carolina based on his knowledge, his integrity and his professionalism.  For that skilled and knowledgeable representation regarding  workers’ compensation claims, contact Salisbury, NC lawyer M. Reid Acree, Jr., by calling us at (704) 633-0860,  (866) 992-2733, toll free or by emailing us at reidacree@acreelaw.com.

One of approximately 120 North Carolina State Bar “board-certified workers’ compensation specialists” in North Carolina,  Mr. Acree has the legal experience and resources to assist you in getting the money and benefits that you need and deserve.

More About Workers' Compensation Benefits

Workers’ compensation laws cover job-related injuries that are caused by accidents (such as slips, trips, falls, and lifting incidents) as well as injuries caused by repetitive use over a long period of time, like carpel tunnel syndrome or rotator cuff tears.  Workers’ compensation may also cover illnesses and disease that are caused or aggravated by exposure to harmful chemicals or substances found in the workplace such as asbestosis, silicosis, cancers (including mesothelioma) and numerous lung conditions.

A seasoned attorney, M. Reid Acree, Jr., has handled thousands of injury claims as well as occupational disease claims for asbestosis and asbestos-related cancers.  He understands that although financial compensation cannot eliminate these horrific illnesses and diseases, workers' compensation benefits can help ease the associated financial burdens, including medical care, medical bills, lost income, and even financial payments for loved ones who have cared for the injured worker (called “attendant care” benefits).

Workers’ compensation begins covering an employee on the first day of work and continues throughout the employment period.  It can even continue long after the employment has ended if exposure to a harmful chemicals or substances that were in the workplace later cause a disease like cancer and asbestosis). 

Documenting Your Workplace Injury or Accident

If you have been hurt at work and you are seeking to claim workers’ compensation benefits, you should do so quickly.  Any delay on your part can lead to potential problems in receiving benefits. If you are injured, you should tell your employer:

  • That you were injured while working;
  • The exact date of the injury; and
  • The manner of your injury.

Your employer must complete a report of that injury (IC Form 19) regardless of whether the claim resulting from that injury is later accepted or denied.  However, the employer has no obligation to actually file a claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission on your behalf and most likely will not do so for you.  Many people happen to believe (erroneously) that their claim has been filed just because the employer completed its own first report of injury.

It is important to note that there are many details to filing a claim and it can be difficult to do so properly. Things to consider include:

  • Did you know that there are specific time limits for filing a claim? Unless your claim has been accepted on Industrial Commission Form 21, Form 60, or Form 63, no claim is on file. The Form 19, Employer's Report of Injury, is not a claim.  Even if the right form is on file, statutes of limitation may be running unless the form accurately describes all of your injuries. For example, a form accepting your claim for CTS (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome) does not accept a claim for tendonitis. You must file a Form 18 (your own claim form) to preserve your rights.
  • Did the insurance company tell you they are receiving copies of all of your medical records from your doctors?  In an accepted case, doctors send copies of their reports to the insurance carrier.  You are entitled to copies of these medical records from the insurance carrier without charge.
  • Did the insurance company tell you that you may not have to go to their doctor? General Statutes 97-25 allows an injured worker to select a physician of his or her own choosing, subject to approval by the Industrial Commission.
  • Did the insurance company tell you that you have the right to a private examination by your doctor outside of the presence of the insurance company's rehabilitation nurse? Often, the worker unknowingly just lets the rehabilitation nurse into the appointment thereby taking away any privacy between the worker and the doctor.
  • Did the insurance company tell you that you have the right to be paid for mileage in excess of 20 miles round trip for medical care?
  • Were you told that if you file Form 18M, you may be entitled to lifetime medical care from your injuries or occupational disease?
  • Did the insurance company tell you that you may be entitled to a second medical opinion before any surgery and regarding any permanent partial disability rating the doctor may have assigned?
  • Did the average weekly wage used to compute your workers' compensation benefits include overtime and bonuses?
  • Did the insurance company tell you that your loved ones can be paid for the actual services that they provide to you to assist you with “activities of daily living” while you are recuperating? This benefit is called “attendant care” and is to pay for care giving for such items as cooking, cleaning, giving you your medications, and assisting you to and from the restroom.
  • Were you advised that you can choose one of three types of benefits at the end of your case: permanent total disability if you are unable to return to any competitive work, a wage loss claim if you return to work at reduced wages, or permanent partial disability based on the disability rating assigned by your doctors?

Workplace Injury?  Turn to a Workers' Compensation Specialist

As you can see, the laws surrounding workers’ compensation are complicated. If you have been injured at work or have been denied benefits, contacting a lawyer who specializes in workers’ compensation is the best way to ensure that your rights will be protected.

Salisbury, NC workers’ compensation lawyer M. Reid Acree, Jr. is available to address your questions and discuss your concerns, or simply point you in the right direction. Not all workers’ need attorneys and it costs you nothing to talk with Mr. Acree about your work related injury or disease.  Please contact us today by calling (704) 633-0860, (866) 992-2733 toll free, or by emailing reidacree@acreelaw.com. You may also contact us online about your case by filling out our online form.

 We represent clients statewide as well as in South Carolina for occupational diseases like cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.  With the advent of emails, PDF documents, and faxes, we have no problem representing workers as far west in North Carolina as the western mountains, as far east as the coastal areas like Wilmington and Jacksonville or as far away as the entire state of South Carolina.  

M. Reid Acree, Jr. Serious Help for Serious Injuries
225 North Main Street, Suite 402 Salisbury, North Carolina 28144
(704) 633-0860 (phone) (866) 992-2733 (phone) (704) 633-1944 (fax) reidacree@acreelaw.com