North Carolina businesses that employ three or more individuals, whether full- or part-time, must carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. This includes part-time employees, full-time employees, seasonal workers, and employees who work temporarily.
If you have any questions about whether or not workers’ comp covers you, don’t hesitate to contact Collier Law today.
Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina
The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act was created in 1929. The Act provides that employers or their insurance carrier pay benefits to an injured worker who is injured or becomes disabled due to a work-related injury. The Workers’ Compensation Act allows employers to self-insure if they can show financial ability to do so.
Workers’ comp is a no-fault system, which means that the injured worker does not have to prove that their employer was at fault for the injury to receive benefits.
What is Considered Part-Time?
Many employers define part-time work as any schedule that involves working less than full-time. For example, a company might consider 40 hours per week to be full-time employment and therefore define anyone who works fewer than 40 hours per week as a part-time employee.
Which Employees are Excluded from Coverage?
The following employees are excluded from mandatory workers’ comp coverage in North Carolina:
- Independent contractors – individuals who contract with another business to provide services. The contractor operates independently and provides their own tools and equipment.
- Domestic workers employed in a private home include cleaning, household maintenance, and care for children and elderly dependents.
- Farmworkers – if the employer has less than ten full-time, non-seasonal employees.
- Some railroad workers are exempt because they are covered under federal policies.
- Federal government employees
- Corporate officers – are counted towards the three-employee rule but can choose to be excluded.
How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you have been injured at work, you should report the injury to your employer as soon as possible. Your employer should file Form 19 with the Industrial Commission. However, it is also on the employee to file their claim using Form 18.
The workers’ compensation claim will then be investigated, and your employer’s insurance company will decide whether to accept or deny the claim. If the claim is denied, you can appeal to have it reviewed.
If you are approved for benefits, you should start receiving them within 14 days of reporting your accident. After that, your payments should continue until you return to work, settle your case, or a judge allows the insurance carrier to stop your benefits.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation covers medical bills and lost wages related to an injury or illness that occurred while you were working. In most cases, workers’ compensation will cover all of your medical expenses that are directly related to the injury or illness, including prescriptions, doctor visits, surgery, and hospital stays. This definition of medical expenses includes mileage for trips over 20 miles round trip, whether it be to the doctor or physical therapy.
Workers’ compensation also covers lost wages. The amount of lost wages will vary depending on the severity of your injury or illness and how long it takes you to recover from it. You should not expect to be paid for any time off due to sick days or vacation days that occurred before your injury or illness.
If you are unable to work because of workplace injury, you may be eligible for disability benefits. These benefits will continue until you return to work or reach maximum medical improvement (MMI).
- Temporary Total Disability benefits are payments made to you while you cannot work due to the injury. You may be written out of work entirely, or you may have light-duty restrictions the employer cannot accommodate.
- Temporary Partial Disability benefits are payments made when you return to work, but you aren’t making as much as you were before your injury. For instance, if you worked overtime before getting hurt and only work light duty regular hours after your injury, workers’ comp would make up ⅔ of the difference.
- Permanent Partial Disability benefits are payments made to you if you have a permanent physical impairment rating to a body part due to the injury.
In addition to medical expenses, lost wages, and disability benefits, workers’ compensation also covers:
- Vocational rehabilitation – if you are unable to return to your previous job, workers’ comp will pay for training so that you can learn a new trade.
- Burial expenses – if the employee dies due to their injury, workers’ comp will pay for funeral and burial costs up to $10,000.
How Collier Law Can Help You With the Workers’ Compensation Process
If you or someone you love has suffered a job-related injury or illness, call an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at Collier Law for assistance with your workers’ comp case.
You are so much more than a number to us: we value our attorney-client relationship and getting the justice you deserve. We are advocates for injured employees. Call for a free consultation to find out how we may assist you.