Winston-Salem, North Carolina Skyline Stock Photo

Please call our head office at 877-890-0851, or simply ask Mike and Lea in the “Free Case Review” form and we’ll be happy to help answer your inquiry.

I can’t work because a couple weeks ago I got hurt. Workers Comp was denied quickly because I hurt myself while on vacation. I slipped and tumbled while hiking, and am waiting for my injuries to heal. I think my injury is temporary, doctors said it was mostly serious sprains and a fractured ankle, but nothing broken. Despite this, my doctor told me to stay off my feet for at least six weeks and let my wrists heal up. I am also on pain meds that make me feel off-balance. I work in a warehouse loading and unloading trucks. I have to be on my feet all day, move quickly, and have to pick up stuff all day. I can’t do my job right now with my injuries and my employer doesn’t have a temporary sitting job for me to do while my injuries heal. I applied for short term disability from my employer and was denied a week ago. I am surprised that I was denied because I can’t do my job until my injuries heal. What should I do?

Attorney W. Tyler Craft, Lewis & Keller

W. Tyler Craft, Attorney At Lewis & Keller

I am sorry for your recent injury and hope that your injuries heal soon. My recommendation would be to give us a call so we can discuss in more detail. When you have a denial of short-term or long-term disability benefits that are employer supplied, then you have 180 days to file an appeal. However, once you file the appeal, the private insurer must generally make a decision within 45 days. Unfortunately, the insurer will often make the decision without obtaining all the records. You want to make sure that you understand why the insurer denied your claim and you want to shore up your case before filing your appeal. An experienced disability attorney can maximize your chances of recovery by building up your case and utilizing favorable case law.

What are my chances of winning my disability case and how long will it take to get a disability hearing?

Attorney W. Tyler Craft, Lewis & Keller

W. Tyler Craft, Attorney At Lewis & Keller

Disability hearings take quite a while to be heard and your odds of winning have decreased in the last few years in North Carolina. Many clients find hiring an attorney to fight for them may help increase the odds of winning their case. A skilled Social Security attorney will help you understand the rules and present your case to the judge in the most favorable light.

The current statistics show that the North Carolina average chance for winning a disability hearing is 48%. Cases are primarily won at a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. The average hearing wait time for North Carolina is 22.1 months. This is the average length of time it takes to receive a hearing date in front of an Administrative Law Judge. The actual decision on your case then takes several more months. You will receive a notice from the Social Security office to let you know the status of your case. Should you win, it may take several more months to receive your award.

I was walking to work. I was in the office parking lot when I was hit by a car. I have a broken arm and leg and am out of work. Can I recover for my injuries?

Mike Lewis, Lewis & Keller

Mike Lewis, Founding Partner At Lewis & Keller

North Carolina law is not generally favorable if you are injured in your employer’s parking lot, but there are some exceptions. First, the parking lot must be owned, possessed or controlled by your employer and not some other person or company.

And second, you must be injured in the “course and scope of your employment,” that is, you must be doing some part of your job.

In 2010, the NC Court of Appeals held that a person who slipped and fell on ice 3 feet from the back door of the office was not entitled to benefits because she had not yet reached the door!

If you fall in your office parking lot, you should consult with an experienced workers compensation attorney to find out if your fall would be covered.

I fell through the rotted boards in my apartment building. I’ve been asking them to repair them, but they haven’t. I broke my hip and have no insurance. What can I do?

Mike Lewis, Lewis & Keller

Mike Lewis, Founding Partner At Lewis & Keller

In North Carolina, you must prove negligence, that is, the failure to do what a reasonable and prudent person would do, if your claim is going to be successful. The good news is that NC does place a statutory responsibility on landlords to exercise reasonable care for its tenants.

Thus, in order to win, you must be able to prove that the property owner i.e., your landlord) was at fault. Just because you fell on your landlord’s property does not mean that the landlord was negligent. The landlord had to have caused (or failed to prevent) the dangerous condition in some manner.

Further, simply because your landlord’s premises might have been in an unsafe condition does not automatically mean that the landlord was at fault under NC law. You have to show that your landlord knew or should reasonably have known that the premises were in an unsafe condition.

The bad news is that NC is one of only 4 states that still follow a terrible rule known as “contributory negligence.” Under that rule, if the landlord can show that you were even 1% at fault in causing your injuries, you recover absolutely nothing, not even your medical bills! They would certainly claim that you should have known that the boards were dangerous. In short, you should consult with an experienced attorney to determine if you have a viable case based on the particular facts of your fall.

I was rear-ended by a woman who was texting. I damaged 2 vertebra in my neck. She says the light was green and I was just sitting there. I was texting also. Who is at fault?

Mike Lewis, Lewis & Keller

Mike Lewis, Founding Partner At Lewis & Keller

It’s hard to determine fault without knowing more of the facts and circumstances. Normally, if you are rear-ended, it is extremely likely that it was the other driver’s fault. This is especially true if the other driver was distracted by texting.

However, N.C. is one of only 4 states that still follow a horrible rule called “contributory negligence.” Under this rule, if the defendant can show that you were even 1% at fault, you would not recover anything, not even your medical bills!

[In the other 46 states, if you were 1% at fault, you would still be able to recover 99% of what you should normally get. NC is a really bad place to get hurt!]

So, if you were texting and didn’t pay attention to the green light in your direction, there is a very good chance the defense would claim you were at least partially to blame by not paying attention for your own safety. You should consult with an experienced attorney to help you determine if you do have a valid claim.

I am a nursing home nurse assistant. I lifted a patient and felt something snap in my back. I stayed out of work for a week and it isn’t any better. I told my supervisor. Is that all I have to do? Should I file workers’ compensation? I have an MRI scheduled tomorrow.

Immediately notifying your employer about a workplace injury is a great first step! However, making sure that you are getting the appropriate care and compensation is detrimental. Insurance carriers in these types of claims are the ones who direct treatment and sometimes they do not like the recommendations that your doctors make so they give you the runaround. Also, when you are finally released from medical care and have permanent injuries, insurance carriers often offer less money than you otherwise deserve. Depending on the seriousness of your injury, this can be an extremely frustrating and confusing process.

Ultimately, whether you want or need to file a workers’ compensation claim is up to you. However, we are always happy to give you a free consultation about your claim at 877-947-4112.

I was helping another worker on the line and lifted a large spool of tubing. I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder and couldn’t use it. My supervisor sent me home. What happens next? I’m still at home and I’m starting to worry I’ll lose my job.

If your shoulder problems still persist then you need to request that your employer direct you to a treating physician so that you can receive proper medical care. Following initial treatment, your doctor may end up writing you out of work for a period of time or giving you temporary work restrictions. In the case that your employer refuses to send you to a doctor then you have to seriously consider bringing a workers’ compensation claim in order to collect benefits that you deserve. Please call me if you need further assistance.

I slipped in the parking lot of my workplace. My neck and back are killing me. I can’t sit at my desk without pain. I haven’t told my manager, yet. I think I need to go to the emergency room. What do I do? No one saw me fall. Can I file for workers’ compensation?

You need to tell your manager about the injury right away. Failing to give your employer notice within 30 days of the date of the injury can cause major headaches in obtaining workers’ compensation benefits. When you do give notice, though, make sure you are very specific about the details surrounding the slip and fall in the parking lot. However, I must warn you that slipping in the parking lot of your workplace does not necessarily mean it rises to a compensable claim for workers’ compensation benefits. There are very specific rules for such accidents and there are not enough details in your question to address whether or not any of them are applicable. Please feel free to contact us for a further evaluation.

Winston-Salem Office

285 Executive Park Boulevard
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27103

Phone: 336-765-7777
Fax: 336-659-1750

Greensboro Office

204 Muirs Chapel Road
Greensboro, North Carolina 27410

Phone: 336-851-1000
Fax: 336-659-1750

Free Case Review

Contact Us Today