Workers’ Comp Laws in North Carolina

In North Carolina, there are three primary sources of workers’ compensation laws. These are the North Carolina General Statutes, the North Carolina Industrial Commission Workers’ Compensation Rules and decisions of the state appellate courts. I’ll discuss each one a little below.

The North Carolina General Statutes

When people say “North Carolina workers’ compensation laws” they usually mean the North Carolina General Statutes. The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act was originally enacted by the legislature in 1929. Some of the Act remains exactly as it was then although much of it has been modified. The General Statutes are regularly amended by the North Carolina General Assembly.

The Workers’ Compensation Act provides the framework for the workers’ compensation system in North Carolina. It sets out whether an injury is covered by workers’ compensation in NC, how to file a workers’ comp claim, what medical treatment is available, the amount and timing of disability payments, and the use of injury ratings.

Industrial Commission Rules

The NC workers compensation system is administered by the North Carolina Industrial Commission. The Industrial Commission is a state agency, led by six commissioners who are nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the General Assembly. The Industrial Commission publishes rules for the administration of the workers’ compensation Act, including the Workers’ Compensation Rules, the rehab rules, and the mediation rules.

These rules help the Industrial Commission implement the Workers’ Compensation Act. The rules govern vocational rehabilitation, medical nurse case managers, mediation, as well as the administrative procedures of the North Carolina Industrial Commission.

Appellate Cases from the NC Court of Appeals and the NC Supreme Court

Appeals from decisions of the Industrial Commission go to the North Carolina Court of Appeals. The last stop in appeals is the North Carolina Supreme Court. Both the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court issue written decisions on the claims they hear.

The appellate courts interpret the Workers’ Compensation Act and ensure that the Industrial Commission properly applies it. The Industrial Commission is given wide latitude in determining the facts of a particular case. So, most of the decisions that are appealed involve disputes over whether the Industrial Commission properly applied the North Carolina workers’ compensation laws to the facts of the claim.

Together the Workers’ Compensation Act, the IC Rules, and the opinions of the appellate constitute the workers’ compensation laws of North Carolina.

Now, a final word of caution. Every state has its own set of workers’ compensation laws. The workers’ compensation laws in North Carolina will be different from those in Virginia, South Carolina or literally anywhere else. What is true in one state may not be true in another. This can include how much time you have to file a claim, what medical treatment is covered, and what benefits are available for disability.

It is important that injured workers in need of a workers’ compensation attorney find a lawyer who practices workers’ comp law in the state where the claim is or should be filed. Please call or email to if you would like a free consultation with Board-Certified North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney Kevin Bunn.

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I provide a one hour free consulation regarding workers’ compensation cases in North Carolina. Please click the button below to call or email Kevin Bunn.

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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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