2018 Guide to Workers’ Compensation for Construction Workers
Construction workers have one of the highest rates of injury among all professions. According to workplace accident statistics compiled by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), about 21% of all workplace fatalities involve construction workers. If you were injured at your construction job, or if your spouse was killed in a fatal construction accident, your family may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits for medical bills, lost income, and other expenses. Serving injured and disabled workers throughout the Charlotte, North Carolina region, the workman’s compensation attorneys of the Ramsay Law Firm are here to help.
Armed with more than 25 years of experience, our knowledgeable work injury lawyers can help you fight for the benefits you deserve. Whether your claim has been denied, your benefits are at risk of being cut off, your employer is threatening to fire you in retaliation for reporting an accident, or you simply have questions about your rights as an injured worker, our legal team can provide the answers, clarity, and representation you need. This article will also help you understand some key points about benefits for injured construction workers in North Carolina for 2018. For a free consultation about a construction work injury claim, contact our law offices online, or call the Ramsay Law Firm at (704) 376-1616 today.
Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation Benefits in NC
Nearly all construction workers in Charlotte are covered by the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. With a few exceptions for other industries and types of workers, who are covered under federal laws, the Act generally requires North Carolina employers to ensure that workers’ compensation insurance coverage is available in the event of a death or injury on the job. If the injury is fatal, benefits may be awarded to the victim’s surviving dependents, such as his or her children or spouse.
If your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, there is a possibility that your employer is failing to comply with the law. If you have been told you cannot file a workers’ compensation claim, or that no benefits are available for your injury, you should contact an attorney for guidance right away.
Construction Injuries that Qualify for Workman’s Comp
Construction workers have a higher risk of sustaining an injury than employees in many other fields. Whether an injury is temporary, such as a broken wrist, or permanently disabling, such as a traumatic brain injury (TBI), benefits are generally available provided the injury was not intentionally self-inflicted.
A wide range of injuries can qualify a construction worker to receive workman’s comp benefits, ranging from minor injuries that will eventually heal, to catastrophic injuries that will require a lifetime of dedicated medical care. Examples of injuries that are common in the construction injury, and that may entitle the victim to compensation under the Act, include the following:
- Head injuries and brain injuries, such as concussions or skull fractures, which are often caused by falling or being struck on the head with an object
- Burn injuries, scarring and disfigurement, and skin damage, which can be caused by electrical accidents, fires, or fatal electrocution
- Severed limbs, toes, fingers, hands, or feet (amputation injuries)
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries, such as muscle sprains and strain injuries
- Torn ligaments and torn rotator cuff injuries
- Puncture wounds or cuts/lacerations
- Repetitive strain injuries (called “occupational diseases”)
- Back injuries and spinal cord injuries (SCI), which are often caused by falling or overexertion
How Much Money can Workers’ Comp Get you for a Construction Injury?
The answer to this question is different for every construction worker. Factors like the severity of the injury, the ability of the worker to return to work, and what part of the body was injured can all play a role in determining how much compensation an injured or disabled employee will receive. The most important factor in determining compensation is how much income the worker was earning before he or she was hurt on the job, as the pre-accident rate of compensation is the basis for calculating how much money should be paid to the claimant for lost wages.
In 2018, this rate is calculated based on approximately 66.66% of the worker’s pre-accident earnings. In other words, the worker can be awarded up to approximately two-thirds of his or her normal income to partially replace lost earnings. This amount is currently capped at $992, up from the $978 weekly limit in 2017. The limit increases slightly each year to account for economic inflation.
In addition to wage loss benefits, the worker can also be awarded benefits for his or her medical expenses. “Reasonable” treatment costs are typically covered, such as expenses arising from hospitalization, surgery, prescription medication, rehabilitative therapy, and medical devices like wheelchairs, crutches, or prosthetic limbs.
If the injury is fatal, the victim’s survivors may be awarded death benefits to assist with funeral and burial costs, in addition to partial replacement for the lost income.
Charlotte, NC Workman’s Compensation Lawyers for Construction Workers
If you or your spouse was injured at a construction job in the Charlotte area, the workman’s comp attorneys of the Ramsay Law Firm can fight to uphold your rights under the law. Led by Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist Martha Ramsay, our attorneys use aggressive, proven strategies to maximize your compensation while guiding you through every stage of the process and educating you on what to expect as the claim progresses. To learn more about filing a workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina for a construction-related injury or death, call us today at (704) 376-1616 for your free consultation, or use our online contact form to request your appointment.