When injured on the job, North Carolina's workers' compensation laws provide that the injured employee should be provided medical care and given wage replacement. This allows an injured worker to get compensated monetarily after an injury without having to sue the employer. However, employers or insurance companies may deny an injured worker's claim. Also, sometimes even an accepted claim can get too complicated. An experienced workers' comp lawyer can help the injured worker get the compensation they deserve.
Workers' Compensation Claims in North Carolina
Most employers in North Carolina with 3 or more employees are required to have workers' compensation insurance. Employers who do not have workers' compensation insurance can face fines or criminal charges.
Workers comp generally covers injuries that occur on the job or during the course of employment. This could involve an accident or injuries caused by repeated actions or activities. Examples of workers' comp accidents could include:
- Slip and fall injury,
- Vehicle accident,
- Construction accident,
- Repetitive use injuries,
- Exposure to harmful chemicals or substances,
- Ladder accidents,
- Falling from a height,
- Struck by an object,
- Machinery accidents, or
- Workplace violence.
There may be some accidents that are not covered by workers' compensation, such as injuries which occurred while the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or intentionally trying to inflict an injury.
How Do I File a Workers' Compensation Claim?
The first step in the workers' comp process involves reporting the injury to the employer and getting appropriate medical treatment. Injured workers should tell the healthcare provider that the injury is work related and the name of the employer. If possible, the injured worker should give written notice of the injury to the employer and file a workers' comp claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
Workers' compensation is supposed to cover all medical treatment reasonably related to the accident and injury. In addition to medical benefits, workers who have to take more than 7 days off of work are paid total temporary disability benefits. This is generally 2/3rds of the worker's average weekly wage (up to a maximum). If the worker is able to work but not able to earn the same amount of money because of the injury, the worker may be able to get temporary partial disability benefits.
After reaching the maximum medical improvement for the workplace injury, the worker may be evaluated for their permanent disability. If the worker has a permanent partial disability, he or she may be eligible for permanent partial disability benefits. If a doctor finds the worker is totally disabled, he or she may receive permanent total disability benefits.
When a Workers' Comp Claim is Denied
The employer or insurance company may dispute the workers' comp claim to have the claim denied. A workers' comp claim may also be denied because the injured worker didn't follow the proper procedures or took too long to report the injury. Unfortunately, it is more difficult to get a claim approved once the claim is denied.
An experienced workers' comp claim lawyer can review the notice of denial and identify why the claim may have been denied. A lawyer can also represent the worker when the employer disputes the worker's claim or tries to get benefits stopped. It is important to have an advocate who represents your interests to make sure you get the benefits you deserve after a workplace injury.
Cape Fear Workers' Comp Lawyer
If you or a loved one suffered a workplace injury, you deserve to have your medical benefits covered and get paid monetary compensation if you are unable to return to work. If your workers' comp benefits were denied, if you want to talk to a lawyer before settling your case, or if you just need to know your rights under the law, talk to an experienced North Carolina workers' comp lawyer about your case. Contact Cape Fear area workers' comp lawyer Matthew J. Dixon today for a free consultation.