NC Workers' Compensation
Seeking Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina
Workers’ compensation exists to help pay for medical expenses – including hospital and rehabilitation services, medication and travel – for injuries or sicknesses that are directly related to the job you were performing.
At Lee Law Offices, P.A., we work closely with our clients in North Carolina to maximize your benefits in these difficult situations.
What Type of Compensation Should You Receive?
If you have been injured on the job, you may be entitled to difference levels of benefits.
In some cases, you may receive wages based on two-thirds of your income in the year before the work-related injury. This is subject to a cap which is currently about $820 per week. Determining the wages your benefits will be based on is a critical step in the process.
For employees who suffer a permanent injury, compensation may be paid based on the percentage of disability to the body part or parts injured. In the event of total and permanent disability, an employee may be entitled to disability payments for life, as well as lifetime medical benefits.
In some instances, you may also be entitled to future medical expenses for life.
Understanding Your Future Options
North Carolina provides very specific rights to employees who have been released to return to work with physical restrictions or limitations. Workers cannot be forced to return to jobs that exceed their limitations or to “make work” jobs.
Lee Law Offices recommends that all injured employees with physical limitations consult an experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer before returning to work.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits in North Carolina
The specifics of workers’ compensation benefits vary from state to state. In North Carolina, benefits range from death benefits, which support dependents of workers who die due to workplace-related injuries, to temporary total disability, which pay the injured workers a percentage of his or her pay while they are disabled.
In both of these cases, the benefits can last for 500 weeks. If you experience permanent disability from your injury, you may be entitled to further compensation in addition to the other benefits you receive according to North Carolina workers’ compensation laws. You are also entitled to medical treatment, which will be provided through your employer or insurance provider.
What North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Covers
There are several types of benefits you can receive under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. These include:
- Ongoing medical care from a medical provider
- Coverage for wages missed during recovery
- Funeral expenses
- Disability Benefits
- Benefits for permanent disfigurement
A workers’ compensation attorney in NC can help you better understand the benefits you are entitled to. These covered items can help you return to a sense of normalcy, treat the injury or illness, and maintain financial stability after the injury. Your workers’ compensation attorney in North Carolina can also help you better understand what and what is not covered by these claims.
Do I Have a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
In North Carolina, this can be a complicated question. In most cases, even if you were at fault or were partially responsible for the accident, you are still entitled to full benefits.
On the other hand, there are situations where you suffered a catastrophic injury which was no one’s fault and your claim may be denied even though it obviously happened while you were working!
The law is very tricky, so your first move should be to contact a lawyer who practices Workers’ Comp in North Carolina.
How to File a Workers’ Comp Claim in NC
After being injured, you must follow specific steps to file your claim correctly.
First, immediately report the claim to your immediate supervisor. Also, it doesn’t hurt to alert as many potential witnesses as possible.
Next, seek medical treatment, preferably as directed by your employer, but on your own if you have an emergency situation. Either way, you will want to document your injury with a healthcare professional.
Then, you will file your claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Your employer should take care of this step once you inform them of the injury. Make sure you follow your doctor’s instructions to take care of your injury, and if you do not hear back promptly, check back in on the progress. Workers’ compensation lawyers in North Carolina can help you follow up if you are unsure how to do this step.
What to Do If Your Workers’ Comp Claim Is Denied?
Sometimes, your employer will wrongfully deny a valid workers’ compensation claim. Call a great North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible.
What Is a Workers’ Comp Settlement in North Carolina?
In North Carolina, there are a few types of workers’ compensation settlements. These include Compromise Settlement Agreements or “clinchers,” Form 26A settlements, or Form 21 agreements/orders.
Compromise settlement agreements are full and final resolutions of your claim. In this kind of settlement, you will receive a specific set of benefits, usually in a lump sum, and you waive your rights to further benefits.
Form 26A and Form 21 Settlements are different from compromise settlements because they are not final settlements. You may receive medical benefits for two years after the financial settlement is complete. These settlements tend to be structured and paid out weekly.
Worker’s compensation lawyers in North Carolina can help you decide which type of settlement is in your best interests.
When Can I Settle My North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claim?
You can settle your claim at any point in the process.
However, it is generally in your best interest to wait until you have reached maximum medical improvement. This is an excellent point for settlement because you will have a good idea of your condition and the kind of care you will require moving forward.
If you settle before this point, you may get fewer benefits than you need and are entitled to. Most workers’ compensation lawyers in North Carolina will advise against early settlements in most situations.
How Much Will I Get in a Settlement?
The amount you will receive in your settlement can vary depending on the specifics of your situation. The amount you receive is dependent on the nature of your injury, your rate of pay on the date of the injury, whether you had any pre-existing conditions, and whether you are able to return to work.
How Is a Settlement Approved?
The North Carolina Industrial Commission is responsible for approving workers’ comp settlements.
When you and the workers’ compensation insurance company have agreed on a settlement with the help of a workers’ compensation attorney, you will file paperwork with the Commission. Your lawyer will help you go over the forms before signing. The Commission will approve the settlement if they deem it to be fair and reasonable to all parties.
Workers’ Compensation Statute Of Limitations In North Carolina
In North Carolina, you have two years from the date of your injury to file your claim. However, you must inform your employer of the injury promptly (within 30 days of injury) in order to be able to file your claim appropriately. If you file too late, your claim may be dismissed.
North Carolina Workers Comp FAQs:
What is a workers’ compensation injury?
A compensable injury is any injury sustained while at work, regardless of fault.
The most common workplace injuries include falling from an elevation, strains and sprains of body parts, motor vehicle accidents, and repetitive motion injuries. Any of these instances could result in serious injuries that require medical care and may impact your ability to work.
A workers’ compensation attorney can help you understand and address your injury appropriately.
What should I do if I get injured on the job?
If you are injured at work, you should immediately report the claim and get medical attention. You should also find a lawyer to help you with your NC workers’ compensation settlements.
How Long Does It Take to Receive Benefits in North Carolina?
The time it can take before you receive benefits can vary.
Ensure that you inform your employer as soon as possible to help streamline the process.
How quickly you see the doctor and when the claim is filed can also impact when you receive your benefits.
At the beginning of the claim, there is a seven-day waiting period before you can start receiving benefits.
A North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney can help you figure out when you should receive your benefits.
Can I Be Fired for Hiring or Talking to an Attorney about my North Carolina Work Injury?
Some employees worry that they may be fired for seeking out the help of workers’ compensation lawyers. However, in North Carolina, your employer cannot retaliate against you for hiring a lawyer.
You have a right to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney in North Carolina, and taking advantage of that right can help you get the results you need.
Is workers’ compensation the same as State Disability?
Workers’ compensation is not the same as State Disability or Federal Social Security Disability.
While workers’ comp will provide you with benefits if you were injured at work, State Disability will provide you with benefits if an injury outside of work prevents you from working. You must seek out the correct type of benefits depending on where your injury occurred.
Can I receive unemployment and workers’ comp benefits at the same time?
You cannot receive unemployment while receiving workers’ compensation because workers’ compensation requires you to be unable to work while unemployment requires you to be actively seeking employment.
What can I do if I am not receiving my benefits check?
If you are not receiving the benefits, you should immediately call a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation attorney.
If I cannot return to the type of work I did before I was injured, what can I do?
In some cases, you may be injured in a way that allows you to return to work, but then you are unable to do the same work that you did previously. In this case, your workers’ compensation benefits can help you transition into new work.
Transition assistance may include training, resumé help, and help with an actual job search. You must take advantage of these services to find fulfilling work in a new position.
Can I See My Doctor After a Work Injury in North Carolina?
When you are injured at work, the workers’ compensation insurance company gets to direct your medical care.
However, you can request to see a doctor of your choosing after complying with their recommendations. If they approve your request, you can see your doctor.
If they do not agree to your request, you may need to talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer.
What if I am unable to return to my job?
If your injury leaves you unable to return to your job, there are certain benefits that you will receive. First, you may be given vocational training to help you return to work. If that training is unsuccessful, you may qualify for permanent disability benefits.
What if My Work Injury Occurred in Another State and Not in North Carolina?
If your injury occurred outside of North Carolina, but your employer is primarily located in North Carolina, you can still make a claim through the North Carolina system. The same is also true if you began your employment with the company in North Carolina, even if you later worked for them out of state.
What Happens If My Employer Does Not Have Workers’ Comp Insurance and I am Injured?
Your employer must have workers’ comp insurance if they have three or more employees, and they will face fines and other penalties if they do not have it for their employees.
You will still be entitled to benefits even if your employer does not have proper insurance. In this case, you will need the help of an attorney who can help you work through this process. A workers’ comp attorney can help you determine the best course of action if your employer does not have appropriate insurance.
Can an Employer Ask Me To Do Something Outside of My Workers’ Comp Restrictions?
Your employer should not ask you to do anything outside of your restrictions.
Once you have your restrictions, your employer must accommodate those restrictions or provide you with lost time benefits. A North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney can help you ensure this process occurs. Keep your restrictions on hand so you can show them to your employer if they ask you to do additional work beyond your restrictions.
Can I get workers comp in North Carolina if the accident was my fault?
Yes. Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina is a “no-fault” system. That means that you are still entitled to benefits even if the accident was your fault, as long as you were injured at work.
Should I sue my employer?
In general, you cannot sue your employer if you are injured at work. However, if you have reason to believe that your employer intentionally caused your injury, you may have grounds to sue. It is best to talk to a lawyer to understand the situation and your rights better.