If you are an employee in North Carolina, it is important to be familiar with North Carolina workers’ compensation law. Workers’ compensation provides benefits to employees who are injured or become ill due to their job.
Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer at Collier Law for assistance with your workers’ comp case.
What is Workers Compensation in North Carolina?
Enacted by statute in 1929, North Carolina Workers’ compensation laws require businesses with three or more employees to have workers’ compensation coverage. Under North Carolina Workers’ Comp Laws, an employee may be entitled to comp benefits when injured due to a workplace accident or occupational disease. The North Carolina Industrial Commission governs this system.
It is important to note that North Carolina is a “no-fault” system, meaning that the injured employee does not have to prove it was someone else’s fault they were hurt. Therefore, it could be the employee’s fault, the employer’s fault, or no one’s fault at all, and the injured worker can still recover workers’ comp benefits.
N.C. Workers’ Compensation Act
The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act (NCWCA) aims to provide compensation to injured workers in the event of a workplace accident that prevents them from working. North Carolina employers should carry workers’ compensation through an insurance company or be authorized as a “self-insured” employer.
Who is Exempt From Workers’ Compensation in N.C.?
There are exceptions to what counts as an employee in North Carolina. For example, sole proprietors, LLC members, and business partners are not considered employees. However, they can choose to be covered if they meet specific requirements.
Certain types of employees are also exempt from N.C. Workers’ Compensation Act, including:
- Casual employees or employees that do not participate in regular business or trade. These employees are only guaranteed work when needed, and there is no expectation that there will be more work in the future.
- Domestic employees include companions, babysitters, cooks, housekeepers, nannies, and nurses directly employed by a household.
- Farmworkers where there are fewer than ten employees
- Federal government employees
- Railroad employees
- Corporate officers who choose to be excluded from workers’ comp coverage. If they decide this, they’re still counted as employees to determine if a business has three or more workers.
How to Apply 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 workers’ compensation insurance carrier 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. Your payments should continue until you return to work, settle your case, or a judge allows the insurance carrier to stop your benefits.
N.C. Occupational Diseases and Compensation Claims
There are many types of occupational diseases and illnesses, including:
- Asbestos exposure
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Lung cancer
- Potentially COVID-19
To qualify for benefits, you must be able to prove that your job was a significant factor in causing your illness or injury, and in some cases, you have to demonstrate that your job placed you at an increased risk of developing the condition. You will need to provide medical documentation and other evidence to support your claim.
N.C. Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits can help cover medical benefits, including medical bills related to the injury, wage replacement benefits, and other costs associated with your injury. In North Carolina, workers’ compensation covers most injuries that occur at work. This includes accidents, illnesses, and repetitive stress injuries.
However, there are some exceptions. For example, workers’ compensation does not cover injuries that occur due to intoxication, self-harm, or injuries sustained outside the scope of employment.
Your Responsibility in an N.C. Workers’ Compensation Claim
As an injured employee, you have certain responsibilities in the workers’ compensation process. It is important that you:
- Notify your employer as soon as possible after sustaining an injury or developing an illness
- Seek medical treatment from a workers’ compensation approved physician
- Cooperate with any requests for information from your employer or the insurance company
- Notify your attorney of any changes in your contact information or medical status
You should also be aware that there are time limits for filing workers’ compensation claims. In most cases, you must file a claim within two years of the date of injury or illness.
Hearings of the Industrial Commission
If you cannot settle with your employer, you may need to have a hearing before the North Carolina Industrial Commission. This is a formal legal proceeding, and an attorney will represent you.
At the hearing, both sides will present evidence and testimony. The commission will then decide your case. If you are not satisfied with the decision, you can appeal.
It is important to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney represent you in negotiations or legal proceedings. Contact Collier Law today for a free consultation about your case.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Should I Do If My Employer Doesn’t Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance in North Carolina?
Employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you have two options. You can file a civil lawsuit or file a claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Hiring a workers’ compensation attorney is recommended in either case.
Can You Be Fired While on Workers Comp in N.C.?
No, you cannot be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim. In addition, it is illegal for your employer to fire you or take any other type of retaliatory action against you because you filed a claim.
How Long Does an Employee Have to File a Workers’ Comp Claim in North Carolina?
In most cases, you must file a claim within two years of the date of injury or illness. However, there are exceptions to this rule, so it is important to contact an attorney if you have been injured or become ill at work.
How Long Does it Take to Get Workers’ Comp in N.C.?
It can take anywhere from two weeks to several months for workers’ compensation benefits to start being paid out. The amount of time that it takes will depend on the severity of your injury or illness and how long you are unable to work because of it.
How Long Does Workers’ Comp Last in N.C.?
Workers’ comp medical benefits generally continue until the doctor has released you from treatment. In general, you have the right to additional medical treatment for an additional two years after your initial treatment ends.
For other workers’ compensation benefits, injured employees can receive them until they return to work. Compensation payments are made weekly, starting in the second week that an employee is out of work.
There is no cap for total and permanent partial disability for catastrophically injured workers.
What Should I Do if My Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied?
If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, your employer or insurance carrier will usually file a Form 61 and send you a copy. Once you receive this, give an attorney a call to appeal the denial by filing a Form 33 Request for Hearing.
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.