When you are injured on the job, Workers Comp is supposed to help you out. But does it really? Many people are unsure about what Workers Comp covers and whether or not they will be compensated for lost wages. In this blog post, we will discuss how Workers Comp works and answer some of the most common questions that people have about it.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a workplace accident in North Carolina, you are not alone. When you seek a workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your case, they can help you pursue fair compensation.
What is Workers’ Compensation in NC?
Workers’ compensation is an insurance policy for employers required by law. The workers’ compensation system pays workers who are injured or disabled on the job. In North Carolina, employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect employees and themselves from expenses related to workplace injuries.
Often an employer has workers’ compensation through a private insurance company. This setup can lead to a back-and-forth between injured workers and the insurance company. If this happens, your workers’ compensation lawyer will advise you of your options to pursue a reasonable and fair settlement.
In general, workers’ compensation pays for medical expenses and a portion of lost wages for employees who are injured or become ill because of their job. Benefits are usually paid regardless of who was at fault for the accident or illness.
What Are Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
There are four different types of workers’ compensation benefits: medical benefits, income benefits, death benefits, and vocational rehabilitation benefits.
- Medical benefits cover the cost of medical treatment for an injury or illness related to the job. This can include doctor’s visits, hospital stays, surgeries, and prescriptions.
- Income benefits replace a portion of an employee’s lost wages while they cannot work. The amount of income benefits an employee is eligible for depends on the state in which they live.
- Death benefits are paid to the surviving spouse or dependents of an employee who dies due to a work-related injury or illness.
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits help injured employees learn new skills or find a new job if they cannot return to their old job.
Workers’ Compensation Income Benefits
Workers’ compensation income benefits replace a portion of an employee’s lost wages while they cannot work. The amount of income benefits an employee is eligible for depends on the state in which they live.
In North Carolina, workers’ compensation income benefits are two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage. The amount of lost wage compensation an injured worker will receive depends on the nature and extent of the injury.
It is important to note that workers’ compensation income benefits are not subject to state or federal taxes.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
The most common workers’ compensation income benefit is temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. TTD benefits are paid to employees who cannot work because of their injury or illness for up to 500 weeks, unless you qualify for extended benefits.
To be eligible for TTD benefits, an employee must be under a doctor’s care and have a work-related injury or illness that prevents him or her from working. TTD benefits are paid until the employee can return to work, resolves his or her claim, or a judge orders the employer or carrier to cease payments.
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
Temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits are paid to employees who can work but earn less than before their injury or illness. TPD benefits replace a portion of the employee’s lost wages and are paid until the employee can return to their pre-injury wage.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits are paid to employees who have a permanent impairment from their injury or illness but can still work (often referred to loss of use of a certain body part). The amount of PPD benefits an employee is eligible for depends on the severity of their impairment and the amount of the wages they earn
When Should I File for Workers Compensation?
In North Carolina, you must file a workers’ compensation claim with the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Program within two years to receive compensation after an on-the-job injury. You should always report any work related injury within 30 days to your employer.
If your employer denies your claim or does not file it, you may file it yourself or contact a North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney for help.
How to Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits
The North Carolina Industrial Commission has a recommended set of steps you should take to file your claim.
- Notify your employer of the injury immediately and seek medical treatment.
- Inform your doctor that the injury is work-related and give them your employer’s name. In non-emergencies, you’ll have to see a workers’ comp doctor from a list provided by your employer. Get copies of all your medical records. This will help you if your claim is denied.
- Report your injury to HR or the closest equivalent as soon as possible after the accident.
- Give your employee written notice within 30 days from the date of the accident and a short description of the resulting injuries.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions for medical treatment.
How Long Do Workers’ Compensation Benefits Last?
The length of time an employee receives workers’ compensation benefits depends on their injury or illness severity. For example, an employee who cannot return to work because of a permanent disability will receive benefits for the rest of their life.
Hire Collier Law for Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Pursuing workers’ compensation claims on your own can be extremely challenging and is often long and arduous.
At Collier Law, we will take your rights as an injured worker seriously and help you navigate the legal and financial issues ahead. In addition, we work on a contingency fee arrangement, which means we only get paid if you recover. Our fee is capped at 25% of any recovery, so you will never have to pay us anything out of pocket. There is no hourly rate, consultation fee, or retainer. Call for a free consultation today!