Workers Compensation in North Carolina
You aren’t alone if you wonder how workers comp works. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides wage and medical benefits to people who have become ill or injured while at work. The extent of workers’ comp coverage an employer is required to carry is governed by North Carolina state law. Thus, in trying to figure out how workers comp works, it helps to understand the laws on the books in the state where the business operates. If the injury or illness a worker sustains is eligible for compensation, the insurance carrier should help ease the financial burden the illness or injury created on the worker. Learn some of the basic principles of North Carolina workers’ compensation insurance and how the process works.
Workers Compensation Statistics in North Carolina ?
Companies in North Carolina submitted reports for over 70,0000 nonfatal workplace incidents in 2019 to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Department of Labor published data that shows 2.3 out of every 100 workers in North Carolina experienced a work-related illness or injury in 2019. 70,000 people employed by private companies in the state had an accident or fell ill while on the job that year. Nurses at residential care facilities, commercial manufacturers, and pig farmers experienced accidents at higher rates than any other profession during that time. In a press release from January 24, 2020, North Carolina’s Special Emphasis Programs hope to reduce non-fatal injuries or illness for everyone by 5% as part of a five-year plan.
How Does Workers Comp Work in North Carolina ?
There is a standard practice to follow when going through the North Carolina workers’ compensation process. Unfortunately, it begins with you getting sick or injured on the job. The circumstances surrounding the incident that led to the injury are especially crucial. The injury had to occur during the course of your regular work duties. It could also occur while you were performing a special task at the request of your boss.
North Carolina requires any business with three or more employees to have workers’ compensation insurance. Some types of companies or categories of workers are exempt from this. Including but not limited to: casual employees, farm laborers, and employees of some railroad companies. Beneficiaries receive compensation for medical care, lost wages, vocational rehabilitation, and death benefits. The North Carolina Industrial Commission also pays ⅔ of the last year’s average salary to injured individuals for up to 500 weeks.
The steps you take immediately following a workplace incident in North Carolina are critical for purposes of filing a claim for compensation. Follow the following steps to preserve your rights and learn how workers comp works.
Get Medical Attention
After you get injured or feel ill, the first step is to see a doctor. Don’t delay receiving help from a North Carolina healthcare professional. This could not only jeopardize your health, but you run the risk of missing time-sensitive deadlines in the workers’ compensation process.
Even if you believe that your injury is minor, get a proper medical report detailing the extent of the damage and how it occurred. This is the first step in the workers’ compensation claim process. Absent a medical report, your employer cannot file a claim with the insurance carrier.
When dealing with a job-related illness, the symptoms and diagnosis may not happen right away. You may find yourself attending regular checkups and testing for weeks or months before a doctor finally associates your illness with your job. All of your medical records will become the foundation from which the workers’ comp carrier will launch its investigation. Your doctor may make the determination that the illness is the result of your work conditions or aggravated by them. Once they do, see your human resources representative to file a workers’ compensation claim.
File a First Report of Injury
Once you have a medical diagnosis relating your illness or injury to your job, you must file a claim with your employer. This is the next important phase of how North Carolina workers comp works.
North Carolina gives employees injured on the job two years to apply for workers’ compensation. Any attempts to obtain benefits after that time may result in a denial. After seeking medical attention, report the injury to your employer within 30 days, by providing a written statement. Your employer cannot try to intimidate you into not doing this, and you should keep a copy for your records. After this is complete, businesses are responsible for filing a First Report of Injury form to the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
The first report of an on the job injury or illness will provide the workers’ compensation insurance carrier with the details of the events leading up to the injury. In this report, you will provide your physical injuries, the medical treatment you received and the facilities that provided it. It’s always a good idea to submit a copy of the doctor’s report with the report of injury.
Your employer should furnish you with information about the claims process. The adjuster or insurance carrier representative may want to speak to you at some point about the incident and any possible witnesses to the event. North Carolina has a twenty-one-day waiting period before beneficiaries can receive payments. If the injuries are severe enough to justify permanent disability benefits, you may apply for a lifelong compensation.
Why You Should Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
In learning how North Carolina workers comp works, many people believe that the injury claims process is straightforward. While this may be the case in some instances, in others, it may be more of a hassle. For instance, your employer may question whether you were hurt on the clock or on your own time. The company may also start to question the extent of your injury. There may even arise pay disputes and long-term care dictated by the doctor. Don’t question how workers comp works and risk losing your claim. Hire a North Carolina workers’ comp lawyer and ensure you have an advocate to fight for your rights as a victim.
Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer in North Carolina
Your health and wellbeing need to come first. If you are hurt while working or find out an illness you are suffering is the result of your job, you will want to seek compensation. Since the workers’ compensation claims process may be tricky, you should consider getting a local attorney well versed in how to deal with it. We can even help you connect with an attorney across North Carolina state lines. They can guide you while you continue to learn how workers comp works.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!