Workers’ Compensation for Nurses in Charlotte
Helping Nurses Heal After Injuries
Nurses devote their lives to healing the sick and injured. However, the healthcare industry can be very dangerous for nurses, who are at high risk for work-related injuries and illnesses. Whether a nurse works at a hospital, a clinic, a pediatrician’s office, a dental practice, or an urgent care center, he or she is at constant risk of sustaining an injury while moving a patient, being assaulted by patients, slipping on fluids, being struck by medical equipment, being injured while lifting or assisting a patient, or sustaining other types of injuries that are common in the nursing industry.
If you or someone you love is a nurse who was injured at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, which can help to pay for your medical bills while remunerating you for lost earnings. Led by founding attorney Martha Ramsay, Board-Certified workers’ compensation specialist, the Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyers at Ramsay Law Firm, P.A. have more than 25 years of experience helping healthcare workers fight for benefits. Whether you need help filing a workers’ compensation claim, wish to appeal a claim that has already been denied, or are concerned about your benefits being suspended or cut off, our knowledgeable team of attorneys can provide personalized guidance and aggressive representation.
Can Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and Restorative Nurse Assistants (LPNs) Get Workers’ Compensation for Hospital Injuries?
For the vast majority of nurses who are licensed to practice in North Carolina, the answer to this question is yes. Under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, virtually all businesses with at least three employees are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance, including corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), and other types of business entities. While several occupations are excluded from the Act, nurses and other healthcare workers are generally covered.
- Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists
- Clinical Nurse Specialists
- Critical Care Nurses
- General Nurse Practitioners
- Gerontological Nurse Practitioners
- Informatics Nurses
- Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)
- Medical-Surgical Nurses
- Neonatal Nurses
- Nursing Administrators
- Pain Management Nurses
- Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners
- Restorative Nurse Assistants (RNAs)
Benefits may be available for a wide array of work-related accidents and disabilities, ranging from accidental falls in hospital corridors, to infections resulting from contact with patients, hospital garments, or contaminated medical equipment, to injuries caused by strenuous physical work like lifting, which is frequently required of CNAs when moving patients within a facility.
Though ill and injured nurses are normally entitled to workers’ compensation, several facts must be true in order for a claimant to receive benefits under the Act.
To receive workers’ comp for a nursing injury or hospital accident, you must have either:
- Been injured by accident or due to a specific trauma
- Suffered an occupational disease
When Do Workers’ Comp Benefits Start?
After sustaining a workplace injury, you have up to two years to file a workers’ compensation claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission, which is the organization responsible for overseeing the claims process in North Carolina. This two-year deadline is called the “statute of limitations.” If you fail to file a claim before the statute of limitations runs out of time, or “expires,” you will not be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits as your claim will be barred. Limited exceptions to this rule may apply, but it is best not to rely upon an exception.
While the statute of limitations allows up to two years to file a workers’ comp claim, you will likely want to file your claim as soon as possible. Though you should prioritize getting immediate care, it is crucial to report your injury to your employer as soon as it is possible to do so safely. You should report the injury within 30 days of your accident, both orally and in writing. Your employer will then report your injury to their workers’ compensation insurance company.
If your claim is accepted, you should begin receiving medical benefits almost immediately. However, you will not receive compensation for the first seven days until you have been disabled for 21 days. Once you have been disabled for 21 days, you should receive payment for the first seven days of your disability. If your payments are late or fail to arrive, you should immediately contact our nursing workers’ comp lawyers for assistance. Benefits are paid on a weekly basis.
If the insurance company denies your claim, you may challenge or “appeal” the decision against you. To appeal successfully, be prepared to present compelling, detailed medical evidence that clearly shows why the denial was improper. Our denied workers’ compensation claim attorneys can guide you through all levels of the process to maximize the odds of getting you approved for benefits.
Nursing Back Injuries Caused by Lifting Patients
Nurses are exposed to many hazards in the workplace, from patients committing assault or falling down, to spills causing slip and fall accidents. Among the many occupational dangers that are faced by LPNs, CNAs, RNs, and other types of nurses, one of the gravest risks is a debilitating back injury. The physical strain of hoisting and moving patients can tear or overextend muscle fibers, tendons, nerves, ligaments, or the supportive, fluid-filled discs between vertebrae.
Certain types of back injuries can take months to heal, causing chronic pain while limiting strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Some injuries may even require surgical repair and intervention.
Examples of common back injuries in nursing and healthcare occupations include:
- Bulging discs
- Herniated discs (also called “ruptured discs” or “slipped discs”)
- Pinched nerves
- Spinal cord injuries
- Sprains and strains, which are common examples of soft tissue injuries
- Torn ligaments
Can You Get Workers’ Compensation for Workplace Violence and Assault?
Statistics from the Kaiser Family Foundation show that nearly 85,000 nurses are currently active in the state of North Carolina. Many are Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), who work under the supervision of Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) or Registered Nurses (RNs).
No matter what level of skill or experience a nurse has attained, he or she deserves to work in a safe environment that is free from violence and abuse. Unfortunately, nursing is one of the most dangerous industries in the nation, and it is sadly common for CNAs, LPNs, RNs, and other nursing professionals to be assaulted by patients or patients’ family members. The attacker may be angry about the perceived care of a loved one. The attacker may be in a state of confusion induced by a medication or medical condition, such as dementia. In other cases of hospital assault, the attack may seem to occur randomly and spontaneously, for no discernible reason.
Whatever the reason behind the assault, the victim could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, which replace partial wages while providing coverage for reasonable medical care. Most nursing professionals in Charlotte are protected by workers’ compensation laws.
Provided they employ at least three individuals, the following types of employers are generally required to provide workers’ compensation coverage under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act:
- Colleges and universities
- Doctor offices
- Elementary, middle, and high schools
- Hospitals and psychiatric hospitals
- Rehabilitation centers
- Nursing homes and skilled long-term care facilities (LTCFs)
If you are injured in the course of performing your job duties, whether on or off the physical worksite, you may have grounds to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Benefits will be denied if the injury was self-inflicted, was caused by your own intoxication, or was not work-related. Benefits can also be denied if the injury is not promptly reported, which is why it is crucial to act as quickly as possible if you have been assaulted at your nursing job.
If you’re a nurse who has been injured on the job, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Charlotte attorneys for help filing for workers’ compensation benefits at (704) 376-1616.
Our workers’ compensation law firm is proud to give a voice to the victims of workplace accidents –especially when those victims have devoted their careers to caring for others.
Serving the Charlotte area, our nursing workers’ compensation attorneys handle a wide spectrum of healthcare worker injury claims, including claims based on:
- Accidental Falls
- Bone Fractures
- Burn Injuries
- Chemical Exposure
- Foot and Ankle Injuries
- Hand and Wrist Injuries
- Head and Facial Injuries
- Hearing Loss
- Infectious Diseases
- Repetitive Strain Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- Vision Loss
- Assault Injuries and Workplace
- Permanent Scarring and Disfigurement
- Back and Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)
If you suffered from these or other common nursing injuries, our legal team can work to ensure that your claim is prepared properly, that your legal rights are respected by your employer, and that you receive the maximum benefits possible.
Hire a board certified Workers' Compensation attorney today to start fighting on your behalf!