Some workplace accidents cause entirely new injuries; however, it is also common for an accident to aggravate existing injuries. Nothing in the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act prevents you from obtaining workers’ compensation benefits based on aggravated injuries. That said, these claims are usually contested by employers and their insurance companies. Thus, having an experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer on your side is always a good idea. At the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, our workers’ compensation attorneys have decades of combined experience handling some of the most challenging and contested workers’ comp claims. We know what insurance companies want to see when deciding whether to approve a claim and what it takes to successfully appeal an adverse decision to the Industrial Commission and beyond.Are My Aggravated Injuries Covered Under Workers’ Compensation?
Yes, as a general rule, aggravated injuries are covered under the North Carolina workers’ compensation system. Of course, employers and their insurance companies may take a different position, which is why it is essential to consult with an attorney before deciding how to proceed.
If you were recently injured in a workplace accident and a pre-existing injury got worse, you can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if you can show that your aggravated injuries were the result of your job. You can even obtain benefits if your injuries worsened over time.
For example, say you have a history of degenerative disc disease and, over time, the pain becomes so bad that you can no longer work. You can obtain workers’ compensation benefits if you can prove:
- You were involved in a workplace accident that aggravated your existing degenerative disc disease; or
- Over time, the repetitive actions you needed to perform to do your job aggravated your degenerative disc disease.
Of course, an employer confronted with a workers’ compensation claim based on aggravated injuries will, in all likelihood, deny the claim. This is because it is easy enough for an employer to claim that the injury was pre-existing and that the aggravation of your symptoms was not necessarily related to your employment. However, bringing an experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer onto your case can help you connect your worsening injuries to your employment, making it much harder for your employer to deny your claim.My Employer Already Denied My Claim for Aggravated Injuries. What Can I Do?
The initial determination to deny a claim, either by your employer or their insurance company, does not mean you will be unable to obtain benefits. However, to do so, you will need to appeal the decision to the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC). The NCIC is the state agency overseeing the administration of the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. Part of the NCIC’s role is to resolve workers’ compensation disputes. When you file an appeal to the NCIC, in most cases, you’ll be required to attend mediation where a neutral third party will try to get you and your employer to agree to a resolution. However, if mediation is not effective, you will attend a hearing in front of a Deputy Commissioner. If the Deputy Commissioner denies your claim, you can appeal to a three-commissioner panel in hopes of obtaining a different result. Finally, if the panel denies your claim, your next step is to file an appeal with the North Carolina Court of Appeals and then the North Carolina Supreme Court.Are You Suffering from Aggravated Injuries Which Make it Impossible to Work?
If you have a pre-existing condition that worsened over time or as a result of a workplace accident, don’t take your employer’s word that your injuries are not compensable. Instead, reach out to the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, to schedule a free consultation. At the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, we will provide you with a free assessment of your case and work closely with you to develop a compelling claim for benefits. We also routinely handle workers’ compensation appeals in front of the North Carolina Industrial Commission and state appellate courts. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer, give us a call at 704-405-2580. You can also reach one of our Concord workers’ compensation lawyers at 704-918-4747. We take all workers’ compensation cases on a contingency basis, meaning we will not bill you for our services unless we can connect you with compensation for what you’ve been through.