The long and winding road to changes to NC Workers’ Compensation Rules continues. Without going through the entire history, the legislature in its most recent session passed Senate Bill 794 which required specific changes to the NC Industrial Commission’s Workers’ Compensation rules. In response the Industrial Commission, in cooperation with representatives of injured workers and business, developed and adopted ten proposed permanent rules.
On September 25, 2014, these proposed rules were submitted by the Industrial Commission submitted to the Office of Administrative Hearings. Click here to view the proposed NC workers’ compensation rules. It is expected that the NC Rules Review Commission will consider the proposed changes to NC Workers’ Compensation Rules at its October 16, 2014 meeting.
The proposed rules make changes to NC Workers’ Compensation Rules including:
* discovery, or the process for exchanging information prior to trial;
* motions to obtain medical care or to change doctors;
* the appeal of NC Industrial Commission decisions;
* the fees and costs charged by the NC Industrial Commission as well as who is responsible for paying them;
* the rules for vocational rehabilitation in NC Workers’ Comp cases;
* Industrial Commission forms 21 (Agreement for Payment of Compensation), 26 (Payment of Additional Compensation) and 26A (Admission to right to Permanent Partial Disability).
Workers’ comp law in NC is comprised of the North Carolina General Statutes (especially Chapter 97), the NC Workers’ Compensation Rules adopted by the NC Industrial Commission, and decisions interpreting the statutes and the rules by the NC Court of Appeals and the NC Supreme Court. An effective NC workers’ comp lawyer has to understand all three sources of law as well as the interplay between them.
The NC Workers’ Compensation Rules are primarily procedural.The NC Industrial Commission applies its Workers’ Compensation Rules in managing NC workers’ compensation claims and in deciding disputed issues in NC workers’ comp cases.