Can Your Spouse Get Paid for Caring for You?
Workers’ compensation accidents and diseases in North Carolina often cause disability, meaning inability to work. On top of missing work, many injured workers need help – at least temporarily – with activities of daily living at home. We call this home assistance “attendant care.” For single folks living alone, workers’ compensation insurers often provide an outside nurse or home health aide to provide attendant care and help the injured worker bathe, dress, cook, and perform other basic functions. But can the husband or wife of the injured worker get paid if he or she gives the attendant care? Yes, under some circumstances. Here are some tips from the workers’ compensation attorneys at Ricci Law Firm:
A doctor referral helps
If you are injured at work or develop an occupational disease and need help at home or with transportation, make sure your doctor knows. Even if your husband, wife, child, or other relative is providing the attendant care, ask your doctor to put in writing the fact that you need help and that your relative is helping. If your treating physician learns that you need help at home due to your workers’ compensation accident, a written note may help you in the future to get reimbursement for your caregiver. If possible, ask your doctor to include details such as exact tasks you need help with, hours your spouse is helping, and whether your need for help arises from your workers’ compensation condition.
Write down the tasks performed, and the time spent
We get it – if your relationship is strong and devoted, then your husband or wife loves you unconditionally and cares for you without keeping score. Sometimes it is uncomfortable to keep track of every little trip to the bathroom or late-night prescription run. Plus, in caring, generous relationships, the spouse sometimes feels shy about keeping track of all the work he or she is doing. But keeping detailed written records of the attendant care may mean the difference between getting paid or not. Years later, if a judge asks for details to support your reimbursement request, you will be very glad you grabbed that pencil and paper.
Document your spouse’s financial value
Many injured workers have such serious conditions that their spouse ends up having to quit their job or cut back their hours. Information relating to his or her earnings may be important when, later, your attorney tries to place a value on the work your spouse performed for you. First, it helps to establish a fair hourly rate. Second, it helps to prove just how much you needed your relative during your recovery. Keep track of your caregiver’s earnings, both before and after your injury. Strong records may help your attorney build your attendant care claim.
The attorneys at Ricci Law Firm understand the attendant care needs of injured workers in North Carolina and may be able to help you pursue a claim. Following the above steps may help them build your case.