If you have been injured on the job in North Carolina, you may be wondering if you can reopen your workers’ compensation claim. The good news is that, in most cases, you can. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to reopening a workers’ comp claim.
If you have questions about reopening your workers’ compensation claim, contact a workers comp attorney at Collier Law. We can help you determine whether your claim is eligible under North Carolina law.
What is Workers Compensation in North Carolina?
Workers’ compensation is a system in North Carolina that provides benefits to employees who are injured or become ill due to their job. Workers’ comp pays for medical expenses and, in some cases, wage replacement.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
- Medical Benefits – Workers’ compensation will pay for the cost of medical treatment related to your job injury or illness. This can include doctor’s visits, hospital stays, prescription medications, etc.
- Lost Income Benefits – If you cannot work due to your job injury or illness, you may be eligible for lost income benefits. These benefits can provide you with up to two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to a maximum amount.
- Death Benefits – If a worker dies due to their job injury or illness, their surviving spouse and dependents may be eligible for death benefits.
- Vocational Benefits – If you cannot return to your previous job due to your injury or illness, you may be eligible for vocational benefits. These benefits can help you retrain for a new career.
- Disfigurement and Scarring Benefits – If you have suffered disfigurement or scarring due to your job injury or illness, you may be eligible for benefits. These benefits can provide you with up to $20,000 for head or facial disfigurement, $10,000 for bodily disfigurement, and $20,000 for permanent loss of an important bodily organ.
Disability Benefits in North Carolina
If you cannot work due to your injury or illness, you may be eligible for disability benefits through workers’ compensation. These benefits can provide you with up to two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to a maximum amount. The disability compensation benefits are:
- Temporary Total Disability benefits (TTD) are paid to injured workers when they cannot work for more than seven days.
- Temporary partial disability benefits (TPD) are for injured workers who can return to work, but not for the same wages they worked for pre-workplace injury.
- Permanent partial disability benefits (PPD) are for workers who sustained a permanent injury and cannot return to the same work they were doing pre-injury. These benefits are based on a disability rating assigned by a doctor.
- Permanent total disability benefits (PTD) are available when a worker is permanently disabled from a work-related injury, and workers will receive medical benefits for the rest of their lives.
When Does a Workers’ Compensation Claim Settle?
There is no obligation to settle a workers’ compensation claim, from either the insurance carrier or the injured worker. However, many claims will be appropriate for settlement either (1) prior to litigation if a claim is denied or (2) after an injured worker reaches maximum medical improvement in an accepted claim. If you have questions about the resolution of your workers’ compensation case, contact an attorney at Collier Law.
Workers’ Compensation Settlements
A workers’ compensation settlement usually includes a lump sum settlement made to the injured worker based on future lost wages and future medical treatment.
Reopening a Workers’ Comp Claim in North Carolina
Workers’ compensation settlements in North Carolina can be reopened if the settlement was not a clincher or compromise agreement. Clincher agreements are considered a “full and final” settlement of your workers’ comp claim against the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier and are usually only reopened for fraud and other misrepresentations.
If your workers’ comp claim was settled using an NCIC Form 21 or Form 26 form, you could reopen it within two years of when the last compensation payment was made. You may want to reopen your case if:
Your condition has worsened. – When the claim is a ‘medical only’ case, injured victims may reopen their claims within a year. In this case, you will need to support your claims with medical evidence or a report from a qualified doctor.
- A legal or factual mistake was made
- The insurance company committed fraud
- Your wage-earning capabilities have diminished
Contact Collier Law today if you have questions about whether your claim is eligible to be reopened.
Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney from Collier Law for Help With Your Case
Filing a workers’ compensation claim is often a long and exhausting process. Attempting to reopen a claim adds extra stress. Contact a lawyer at Collier Law today if you want legal advice regarding reopening your workers’ compensation claim. We value the attorney-client relationship and will fight for your case.