Common Causes Of Workplace Injuries
As work-related injury lawyers, we have seen many different types of work accidents over our decades of legal practice. Many people believe that virtually all work accidents happen to those with dangerous jobs in fields such as construction or forestry work. While physically intensive jobs are more likely to produce injury, people in all manner of work get hurt every day in North Carolina. It is very possible for you to be hurt in an office building or on the road while driving between job sites. Your case for damages may require your workers’ compensation lawyer to definitively illustrate what happened, while identifying who is responsible.
While each work injury is unique, some of the most common causes of workplace injuries that we have seen include:
- Construction accidents
- Slipping or tripping on damaged floors or negligently placed objects
- Accidents caused by overexertion
- Being struck by falling objects
- Vehicle accidents
- Heavy machinery accidents
- Repetitive motions of micro-tasks
- Chemical accidents
- Burns or explosions
Your Work Injury May Be Covered By North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Law
Most employers in North Carolina are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance to provide for the expenses of employees hurt while on the job. With very limited exceptions in North Carolina, this is a no-fault system, meaning that you do not have to prove what happened, or who was at fault, to recover compensation. You must simply show that you were hurt while at work, and then show the amount of damages that you deserve to recover. Our workers’ compensation attorneys have helped many people make the most of this system after suffering an injury at work. The workers’ compensation process can be very complicated, and certain workers are not covered at all. You may not be covered by this system if you are one of the following:
- A domestic service provider
- An agricultural worker whose employer has fewer than ten full-time employees
- An independent contractor as defined by state law
- A railroad or maritime worker – the federal government has compensation programs for these workers who are injured on the job
Filing A Claim Against Your Employer Or A Third Party
Many people who are injured while at work feel as though it’s clear that their boss or employer was negligent, and therefore should be sued. However, this might not be allowed according to state law. Workers’ compensation is required to be purchased by most employers, but it also protects them from most lawsuits when someone gets hurt. For workers, this aspect of the system is supposed to be offset by the fact that you do not have to prove fault to recover damages. However, exceptions that allow you to sue your employer in spite of workers’ comp would include cases where your employer assaulted you, or where their grossly negligent actions were totally outside of the nature of their role at your job.
Third party lawsuits are cases where a person injured on the job sues someone who has no affiliation with their work. These cases are not like workers’ compensation actions since the negligence of the other party must be shown for you to recover damages. Experienced job injury lawyers can file both a third party suit alongside your workers’ compensation action.
Examples of people being hurt at work and having a possible third-party suit include:
- A worker is driving between job sites and is in a car accident caused by a negligent motorist
- A contract worker or inspector who is on or near your place of work causes your injury through their careless actions
- A manufacturer’s defective product causes you harm while you are at work
- Someone assaults you at your workplace
Don’t Let The Statute Of Limitations End Your Claim For Damages
Our state’s statute of limitations law allows for lawsuits and legal actions to only be filed within a certain period. This is to prevent frivolous claims from surfacing years after the supposed injury occurred, and therefore your employer is protected from worrying about injuries that happened long in the past. There are many details and exceptions in the statute of limitations rules, but some important rules to understand after a work injury include:
- Two Years – This is how long you have to seek a workers’ compensation claim after being hurt while on the job. Additionally, if you are to file a wrongful death action as a third party claim after the death of a loved one, you have until two years after their death to act.
- Three Years – You have three years to file a normal personal injury action. This includes third-party lawsuits.
The statute of limitations laws have many specific rules. For example, your limitation on a legal action may be postponed if you are unable to notice the injury that you sustained. This can be common in cases where long periods of repetitive actions cause physical harm, or where you have been exposed to toxic substances. Do not let yourself delay calling your lawyer after a work accident. While several years may seem like a lot of time to consider your condition and options for getting better, a lawsuit or workers’ compensation action requires significant preparation if you are to get all the financial help you deserve. Call a Charlotte work injury lawyer at (980) 237-4579 as soon as possible to discuss all your options.