You absolutely positively need to get an attorney. There are many here under the find a lawyer section. Get someone who primarily does workers compensation. It will be a huge mistake to try to do this on your own
You have a very good case and need to hire an experienced workers comp attorney immediately. You may also have additional claims against your employer relating to your termination.
Based on the limited information you have provided sounds like your attorney has filed for a hearing before the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Before you can receive a trial the rules require that you attended a mediated settlement conference. I suggest that you consult with your attorney asking that he/she explain the procedures and timeline as well as the benefits you may be entitled to. If you are not satisfied, you can always seek the advice of the Board Certified Worker's Compensation attorney. Good luck.
You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation since every case is different and not all information is relayed in an online question. The Hedrick Law Firm is a workers’ compensation firm located in Wilmington, NC, we invite you to contact us and welcome your calls at 910-343-1432. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.
I agree with what others have said. You should look to hire an attorney ASAP. Let us know if there are other questions we can help answer for you.
Workers' Compensation Lawyer
Offices in Charlotte, Greensboro and Winston-Salem, NC
How frustrating! I’m sorry to hear that you have a herniated disc- it is a serious injury. Under the workers’ compensation act, once a claim has been denied, no benefits are required to be paid unless the Industrial Commission issues an Opinion and Award holding that your case is compensable. Unfortunately, it can take 1 ½ years to 2 years to get a decision from the Industrial Commission. If you win, you will be entitled to payment for medical treatment, the time the doctor said that you could not work and for any permanent injury. You will want to hire an attorney who is a workers’ compensation specialist for any hearings before the Industrial Commission and to represent you at any mediation. You may also want to consult with an employment law attorney to pursue a REDA claim. The time limit for filing such a claim is very short, so I suggest that you take action now. Good luck!
Martha Ramsay is a North Carolina attorney. As such, her responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to her understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which she practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, this answer is not a substitute for a proper legal evaluation of the facts in your specific case. Additional facts may alter the evaluation. Do not rely upon this answer to decide whether or not to pursue a claim. There are time limits in legal claims and this answer does not evaluate those time limits. No attorney-client relationship has been created by this answer.
I am sorry you are having such problems. I can not second guess your attorney as I do not know all of the facts of your case. In a denied case, like your, it is common to file a Form 33 Request a Hearing. You need treatment and the only way to force the company to start paying your claim is to have a hearing and receive an order from the Industrial Commission saying that you have a valid claim. The Industrial Commission requires that each case go to mediation before it is heard before a Deputy Commissioner. That sounds like that is what has happened in your case. Your attorney may be talking to you about mediation since it is a hoop you have to jump through before you can have a hearing before a judge.
I would also note, that it is illegal in North Carolina to fire someone in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim. Thus it is possible that you also have a civil claim for potential wrongful discharge.
I am licensed to practice law only in North Carolina. My answer provides only general information. Do not rely on this answer as specific legal advice for your particular situation. This answer does not form an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with an attorney to fully discuss your situation and to obtain advise about your legal rights and obligations.