When you are injured at work, it can be overwhelming. Not only are you worried about your health and wellbeing, but you are also thrown into financial uncertainty as you look for compensation for the injury.
I was injured at work. What should I do next?
You should report your injury to your employer, both verbally and in writing. You will also need to fill out a form that is submitted to the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC). This form is best filled out by the attorney representing you in your workers’ compensation claim.
What happens after I file for workers’ compensation?
Your employer’s insurance carrier has the right to direct your medical care. Since they are directing the medical treatment, the insurance company can send you to a doctor of their choice. However, after you file with the NCIC, they can approve a request to change direction or seek treatment from a provider of your choice. An experienced employment law attorney will best be able to assist you in understanding this process.
What employers are covered by Workers’ Compensation laws?
North Carolina Worker’s Compensation laws apply to any employer with three or more employees (with certain exceptions).
What is the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC)?
The employees of the NCIC administer the Workers’ Compensation Act. The mission of the NCIC is to ensure all parties are treated fairly and equally in accordance with North Carolina law.
Am I eligible for Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina?
You are eligible for North Carolina Workers’ Compensation under three basic circumstances.
1. Injury by Accident: This is where someone’s regular work routine is interrupted by an unusual circumstance. For example, when a house painter falls off a ladder.
2. Specific Traumatic Injury: This occurs when an employee sustains a neck or back injury during a specific incident that may not have been an accident.
3. Occupational Disease: This is where a condition of employment involved an increased risk of contracting a disease than the public generally.
After I have submitted my workers’ compensation claim to my employer, what happens?
You will hear from your employer within 14 days. They are required by North Carolina law to state whether your claim has been accepted, or the grounds for denying your claim.
What sorts of financial benefits are available in a workers’ compensation claim?
Temporary Total Disability is where, as a result of workplace activities, an employee becomes totally disabled (i.e. unable to work in any capacity). With this sort of compensation, employees are entitled to obtain weekly benefits equal to ⅔ of their average weekly wage up to a maximum that is set by the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
Temporary Partial Disability is where an employee has returned to work, but is earning less than they were prior to the injury. The employee might be earning less because he or she is working fewer hours or earning less per hour than before the injury. Employees are entitled to ⅔ of the difference between the post-injury and pre-injury hourly wage.
Permanent Partial Disability is when an employee has sustained a permanent disability to a certain body part. The benefits paid out are calculated by the treating physician on a percentage basis (called the PPD rating). The benefits are ⅔ of the employee’s average weekly wage for a period calculated by the North Carolina Industrial Commission for each body part and the PPD.
Total and Permanent Disability is when the employer pays benefits for the remainder of the employee’s life and may be available where the employee cannot return to work for the remainder of the employee’s life.
You should consult an experienced employment law attorney to discuss your options in-depth to make sure that you are receiving fair compensation for any workplace injury you receive.