Workers’ Compensation NC — What is it?
Workers’ compensation in North Carolina provides medical and wage replacement benefits to workers who are injured by accident on the job, or who develop a work related illness. Medical treatment is provided for the injury or illness for as long as necessary, so long as the employee does not do anything to lose it. Wage replacement benefits are paid at 2/3’s of the injured NC worker’s average weekly wage while the employee is disabled, or if the employee suffers a permanent impairment.
Workers’ Compensation NC — How do I get it?
An injured worker must file their workers’ compensation case in NC within two years of the date of accident. An injured worker should also give their employer notice of the injury or accident within thirty days of the occurrence. The forms for filing the claim and giving the employer notice are available at the North Carolina Industrial Commission website.
Injured North Carolina workers should remember that they are usually going up against an experienced insurance adjuster who is working for their employer or workers comp insurance company. These adjusters are well aware of the common nc workers’ comp traps and can lead an unwary worker right into them.
For this reason it’s very important to carefully describe how the workers’ comp accident occurred. The North Carolina workers’ compensation system covers only injuries that occur by “accident.”
For example, let’s say a worker is moving a box from the top of a stack and the stack starts to fall and he hurts his shoulder catching the stack to stop them from falling. If he reports only that he “was moving a box and hurt his arm” the claim may be denied on the basis that there was no accident. He was just doing his regular job in the regular way. However if he reports that he “injured his arm attempting to keep a stack of boxes from falling” the claim is more likely to be accepted. The question “So, you were doing your regular job in the normal way?” has ended many meritorious claim. Workers think they should just answer “yes.” But that may be the end of their claim.
For back injuries a “specific traumatic event” can constitute an accident. This means the worker must relate the injury to a particular point in time when the injury occurred, such as the onset of pain, a popping sound, or some other indication an injury has occurred.
Please feel free to call or email if you have questions about your workers’ compensation claim or want to consult a Board Certified Expert in Workers’ Compensation NC.