North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Laws provide for benefits to be paid to workers who are injured as a result of a work related accident, suffer a specific traumatic event, suffer from an occupational disease or to the beneficiaries of someone whose death is a result of a work related incident. There are other variations to this list and you should discuss your situation with an attorney before deciding you do not meet the criteria of an injured employee. Knowing your rights is the key to recovering valuable benefits. Our attorneys have handled hundreds of these cases over the past twenty-five years and are here to provide you with a free consultation to help you better understand your rights and to provide legal representation to those who need it. There is no attorney fee unless you recover. Seeking the advice of an experienced attorney will cost you nothing, but failing to find out your rights before proceeding could cost you everything.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is covered? In general, employers who employ three or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. There are some instances where three or more employees may not be evident. It may take some investigation into your work environment to determine if your employer is required to carry workers’ compensation coverage. There is no limitation as to how long you must work for an employer before you are entitled to benefits.
What do you do if you are injured on the job? You should report your injury to your supervisor and seek medical treatment. Your employer does have the right to direct your medical care but they cannot prevent you from seeking emergency care if required. It is very important that you tell your medical provider that your injury happened at work. Follow the advice of your physician. If you are advised to be out of work, or to limit your activities, get a written note from the physician stating the same and provide a copy to your employer. Keep copies of all documentation for your own records.
Are there time requirements? Yes. You are required to give written notice to your employer within thirty (30) days of your injury, or from the onset of an occupational disease. You must file your claim with the Industrial Commission within 2 years. Most employers do not file a claim on your behalf and if you believe this has been done, check with the North Carolina Industrial Commission to verify that a Form 18, or other appropriate form has been filed, and that you have an open and active claim well before any time period expires.
What benefits are available? The Workers’ Compensation Act provides that an injured worker is entitled to the payment of reasonable and necessary medical expenses, including vocational rehabilitation if necessary. You are entitled to receive a portion of your average weekly wage which is often based on your earnings during the 52 weeks prior to your injury. Calculating your average weekly wage should be done by an experienced attorney to avoid any pitfalls as there are many variations that may be involved. You may also be entitled to other benefits such as future medical expenses, temporary total disability benefits (TTD), temporary partial disability benefits (TPD), or permanent partial disability benefits (PPD). Permanent and total disability benefits are also available in some cases. There may be other benefits such as mileage and prescription reimbursement which you may be entitled to receive. Death benefits are also recoverable to a worker’s spouse and dependents if the death occurs as a result of a work-related injury, accident or occupational disease. In cases involving a death, you should contact an attorney immediately. The prudent course in all workers’ compensation claims is to consult an attorney to make sure you are not compromising your claim.
DISCLAIMER: This information is provided as a public service. Information contained is not intended as, and should not be taken as, legal advice. The use of information provided in this summary should not be taken as establishing any contractual or other form of attorney-client relationship between Craige Jenkins Liipfert & Walker LLP and the reader or user of this information.