Medical Treatment in NC Workers’ Compensation

When an injury is covered by workers’ compensation it is the responsibility of the employer or its workers’ compensation insurance company to provide medical treatment.  This is usually done by choosing a private medical provider to provide the treatment.  Some employers, mainly large manufacturers and hospitals, may have in-house medical services.

Treatment must be provided to cure the injury, help the employee return to work, or relieve pain.  Medical treatment includes traditional medical services such as doctor’s visits, rehabilitation, diagnostic testing, surgery, prosthetics and medications.  In some cases medical treatment can also include an adjustable bed and even housing modifications that are necessary because of physical limitations related to the injury.  Chiropractic treatment is covered under workers’ compensation in North Carolina however if more than twenty chiropractic visits are needed the chiropractor must obtain additional authorization from the employer.

medical treatment in nc workers comp

Workers’ compensation is not health insurance.  Medical treatment is provided only for the compensable injury or disease, as well as any condition that is a direct and natural consequence of the compensable condition.  So for example if an employee sustains a covered knee injury which leads to a change in the way he or she walks, which in turn results in a lower back condition, then the back condition may also be covered.

Medical treatment will last so long as it is needed, with some exceptions.  The right to medical treatment will expire two years after the last payment of any medical and wage replacement compensation.  So an injured worker who accepts the payment of a permanent partial disability rating, then does not receive medical treatment for two years, will lose medical benefits.  Medical treatment may also be denied if the employee lets a long period of time lapse without treatment.  Employees can prevent the unexpected expiration of medical benefits by completing and filing a Form 18M with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.  An approved 18M will keep medical benefits alive even after the expiration of the two year time limit.

The choice of doctors is the most frequently and strongly contested issue in the North Carolina workers’ compensation system.  In addition to prescribing medical treatment the authorized treating physician will assign temporary and permanent work restrictions that will determine when the injured employee can return to work as well as the kinds of work that are suitable. The authorized treating physician will also assign disability ratings which will form the basis for payment of permanent partial disability benefits.  Clearly a lot is at stake in determining which physician will direct medical treatment.

In general, the employer has the first opportunity to select the authorized treating physician who will direct the injured employee’s medical treatment.  The authorized treating physician will examine the employee, order diagnostic tests, prescribe medications and set work restrictions.  The authorized treating physician will often refer the employee to a specialist if necessary.

Employees may ask the Industrial Commission to approve a change in the authorized treating physician if the employee can show that a change is necessary to cure the injury, reduce pain or help the employee return to work.  The employee can also ask for a second opinion with a non-treating physician.  Employees have the right to a second opinion by a physician of their choice on any Permanent Partial Disability rating.  If an employer refuses to authorize medical treatment that has been recommended for the employee by an authorized medical provider then the employee may ask the Industrial Commission to approve the treatment.

The employer can require an injured worker to attend an independent medical examination (IME) with a physician of its choice at any time. There is no requirement that the employer have accepted the claim in order to get an Independent Medical Examination.  The IME must be with a physician licensed and practicing in North Carolina and be at a reasonable time and place.  An employee who refuses to attend an Independent Medical Examination runs the risk that his or her workers’ compensation benefits will be cut off until he or she complies.

Employers may hire nurse case managers to assist in coordinating the medical treatment for injured North Carolina workers.  Nurse case managers must abide by the North Carolina Industrial Commission Rules for Utilization of Rehabilitation Professionals in Workers’ Compensation Claims.  Although the nurse case manager is paid by the employer he or she must exercise independent judgment in their efforts.  Nurse case managers may attend doctor’s appointments and may discuss the employee’s treatment with the doctor.  Injured workers have the right to a private visit with their physician without the nurse case manager being present.

An injured worker who drives more than 20 miles round-trip for medical treatment should be reimbursed for mileage.  The amount of the reimbursement is set annually by the NC Industrial Commission based on the Standard Mileage Rate set yearly by the IRS.  Mileage should be reported by the injured worker to the employer or the insurance adjuster on an Industrial Commission Form 25T.

For more information about Medical Treatment in NC Workers’ Compensation please contact Board Certified NC Workers’ Compensation Attorney Kevin Bunn for your free consultation.

Megan Mayer
Megan Mayer
16:15 06 Sep 18
I appreciate all of the work done by both Kevin and Joanne on my case. I was so stressed out and they helped make it all so simple by being kind, honest, and communicative. They both answered all of my questions and explained things thoroughly at every stage so I knew what to expect. I can't reccomend Kevin Bunn enough as an attorney and all around nice guy! Please consider him if you need help. You won't regret it!read more
Daniel Peterson
Daniel Peterson
19:44 05 Sep 18
My go-to attorney for over 20 years! Kevin has been helped me on a number of different situations over the years because life keeps pitching curve balls. Many times Kevin was able to help me specifically and, on those rare occasions when he couldn't, he always managed to direct me to someone who could help me. I view him as my legal ally.read more
Michael Miller
Michael Miller
19:37 27 Aug 18
We met with Kevin about a workmans comp issue. Although he will not be able to represent us in this matter, as the accident took place out of state, he was very generous with his time explaining the law and advising us on future actions to take. He contacted attorneys that may be able to help in the state involved. It's a shame that he will not be representing us as he showed extensive knowledge and the ability to explain the details involved.read more
David Keeffe
David Keeffe
18:25 25 Jul 18
My experience with Mr. Bunn has been great. If I had to do it again he would be my first choice. He helped me get a fair settlement and always kept me informed.read more
Marc Tsukayama
Marc Tsukayama
13:26 19 Jul 18
I was injured at my workplace last year and went through Workmens' Comp for my medical treatment. At the end of that process I was offered a settlement that I had questions about. Kevin Bunn was referred to me by another lawyer that I trust. Mr Bunn took the time to listen to my story, asked questions that focused on the pertinent information and was able to clear up the questions that I had. He gave me some good solid advice while making me feel comfortable. I will refer anyone to give him a call about any Workmens' Comp questions.read more
James Hart
James Hart
21:08 07 Jun 18
I shared space with Kevin for several years and saw firsthand how he conducted business and treated his clients. He was honest, ethical, and forthright with his clients. Never hesitated to do the right thing on a case, even if it meant cutting his fees. If you are injured in a workplace accident, I highly recommend you contact Kevin.read more
Tran Tinh Lindberry
Tran Tinh Lindberry
20:16 02 May 18
I received great customer service and the communication with me was excellent. They were great with walking me through the process in way that I could understand. Mr. Bunn's paralegal, JoAnne was very helpful. I highly recommend Mr. Bunn to anyone with need of workers' compensation assistance.read more
Corey reed
Corey reed
15:44 28 Mar 18
The entire office staff is exceptional and wonderful to work with. I would highly recommend Mr. Bunn to anyone with workers' compensation needs.
Lori James
Lori James
19:34 23 Mar 18
First of all.. I want to thank God and my daughter to find such an awesome lawyer Mr.Bunn. I was kind of nervous meeting Mr. Bunn for the first time because he would ask me to explain from the beginning about my injury and ask me again the same questions. I have a very heavy accent and I know I speaks very fast at time. Sometime he would ask me the same question over again. So, I said to myself, this is not going to be a good lawyer for me. I found out that he want to know and understand what I was saying. The more I talk to Mr. Bunn the more i understand about the law. He would explain how workers compensation law is all about. The Insurance company was sending me check of what they believe was the right amount every week. Mr.Bunn recover the amount they were sending was wrong. So my weekly check was $150. Short the whole time. Thank you Mr. Bunn!!! Mr. Bunn will fight hard for you and his knowledge of how workers compensation works, it will speak for itself. I also want to thank his paralegal Ms. Joanne for taking my call and answering all questions I may have . she is always polite no matter what day of the week it is. she ask if i want water and always make me feel comfortable. I highly recommend Mr.Bunn as your lawyer if you want results. Other lawyers might be just all talk and no results. He will ask, understand and work hard for you then, get the results that will amaze you ! Lorelei Jamesread more
Annette Beane
Annette Beane
21:56 17 Mar 18
Mr Bunn and his assistant Joanne made this horrible experience really easy. Not pleasant as laws and lawyers do not equal fun, but reality. Reality is hard, Mr Bunn proved his knowledge of workers compensation laws and got me through this horrible experience. Hoping to never have to do this again, but I do know I'll ask Mr Bunn to represent me if needed.read more
Anne Lineberry
Anne Lineberry
00:13 16 Mar 18
Words cannot adequately express my gratitude for Kevin Bunn, and his awesome paralegal, Joanne. Kevin is an individual with character traits that a client would want from their attorney. He is kind, knowledgeable, straightforward, tough, professional and honest. When I was injured at work I had NO idea that I was about to embark on a legal battle with an employer whom I had LOVED to work for during the past thirty some years. I am a leader in my field including being National Board Certified. During those years I impacted thousands and had distinguished evaluations. All I wanted was a total knee replacement that my surgeon stated I needed as a result of the injury. I quickly found myself in the very complex world of workers compensation that left me overwhelmed and most importantly unvalued. Kevin made me feel very comfortable and knowledgeable about all the many situations involved in the case. I also feel I learned a lot from him to help others know their own rights as individuals. I traveled over two hours out of town just to get Kevin and I am so glad I did. I got the total knee replacement from the surgeon I wanted and have moved on with my life after close to a two year battle. I would HIGHLY recommend anyone looking for a Workers' Compensation attorney to hire Kevin Bunn!read more
jacob Maples
jacob Maples
02:51 10 Mar 18
Mr Bunn and his staff were very polite and took on my case after many other law offices turned it down due to some very special circumstances. I was treated like family and always kept up to date on the status of the case, mr Bunn was very polite and always returned my phone calls or emails. I would highly recommend mr Bunn and his staff.read more
Tina Phillips
Tina Phillips
12:55 04 Oct 17
Attorney Kevin Bunn and his paralegal JoAnne are amazing!! Both worked very close with me and kept me up to date on all information that was going on in my Workers' Comp case. They both treated me with the utmost respect. Mr. Kevin Bunn was even able to obtained a fair settlement amount for me and I would diffidently recommend him to friends, family or just anyone looking for assistance with a workers' compensation claim. Thank you both again!!read more
Cheryl Mancini
Cheryl Mancini
19:13 28 Aug 17
Mr. Bunn went above and beyond helping us with sensitive advice. He was on vacation, and still took the time to go over our concerns. He is very well informed,and cared enough to take the time to explain every detail. I would highly recommend this wonderful attorney.read more
Kurt Kettering
Kurt Kettering
15:06 25 Jul 17
I really appreciate the personal touch Mr. Bunn gave to all aspects of the case. I am very satisfied with the way the case was handled and the outcome received. I would highly recommend Kevin Bunn to anyone in need of help with their workers compensation claim.read more
Jake St. Peter
Jake St. Peter
18:07 19 Jul 17
I've used Kevin in the past and was extremely pleased with the results. Highly recommended and trustworthy attorney.
André L. Farmer
André L. Farmer
17:10 27 Jun 17
I would highly recommend Kevin Bunn. He was very professional and responded promptly to all questions. I am very satisfied with his services and his staff.read more
Daniel Chido
Daniel Chido
07:23 21 Mar 17
Kevin Bunn is a great lawyer and a great man. I consider myself very lucky and blessed to have had him representing and working for me over the past few years. I found him by word of mouth while I was looking for a lawyer to handle my worker's compensation claim and my application for social security disability. He was one of the only lawyers I found in the area who would handle both of these. I knew from the first time I met him in person that he was the right choice. Kevin is a straightforward, honest, rational, down to earth and very kind person who went above and beyond to help me and to bring forth favorable results on all fronts for my situation. He always explained things well, we were always on the same page before making any moves, and I truly felt like he put me as a person first and foremost, before lawyer fees or anything else like that. I honestly only have positive things to say about Kevin and my experience working with him. Also, his paralegal JoAnne is awesome, and it always cheered me up to hear her voice on the phone. I highly recommend Kevin Bunn to anyone who is searching for top notch representation for their worker's compensation claim or social security disability application. Thank you, Kevin and JoAnne!read more
Terri Perry
Terri Perry
21:20 25 Jan 17
Mr. Bunn was straightforward and a highly respected good attorney. I recommend anybody looking for a workers' comp lawyer in NC contact Mr. Bunn. He can represent me any time.read more
Paul Kemper
Paul Kemper
00:37 31 Oct 16
I have used Kevin, twice for work related cases. Kevin, was open and honest with me and my wife. I highly recommend Kevin Bunn, for any injury claim case. If I ever need anything attorney for an injury I will use him again. His secretary Joanne Latta, was always helpful and friendly to us. Thank you Kevin Bunn for your expertise and help. Paul Kemperread more
shane cargain
shane cargain
19:00 17 Jun 16
One of the best experiences I've had with a lawyer! He gets the money that you deserve and doesn't quit until you are satisfied with the outcome! He knows his stuff when it comes to the law and I HIGHLY recommend him to anyone for workers compensation cases or anything else that involves the law! You can't go wrong with him by your side when you need a good lawyer to battle for you!read more
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Top Ten Tips and Traps for North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claims

After twenty years of practicing workers’ compensation law in North Carolina I have seen just about every mistake an injured worker can make.  These mistakes range from failing to file their claim, to settling when they should not have, and everything in between. Download my Top Ten Tips and Traps for North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claims

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