What is workers’ compensation?
While the term “workers’ compensation” may seem self-explanatory to some, individuals who have never worked in blue-collar jobs or have always worked as a sole proprietor have probably never had to worry about what the workers’ compensation laws in their state are.
In short, workers’ compensation is when an employer/company pays an individual after he or she has been injured or become ill due to a work-related incident.
For example, if you work on a construction site and you break your hand when a brick falls from the second story of the building you are working near, your employer will compensate you for things like medical bills and lost wages.
Are workers’ compensation laws different in North Carolina?
Like all laws in the United States, workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state.
The most common elements you will see vary in each state in regards to a workers’ compensation are things like:
- The size of companies that require workers’ comp insurance
- The types of industries that require workers’ compensation insurance regardless of size
- The statute of limitations on a work injury-related lawsuit
Do I have to pay for workers’ compensation insurance in North Carolina?
The answer to this question will depend on who is asking.
If you are an employee, no matter what the industry or job type in which you work, you will never be required to pay an insurance company or employer for workers’ compensation insurance.
Workers’ compensation insurance falls solely on the shoulders of your employer.
If you are an employer, the minimum number of employees you can have before workers’ compensation insurance is required in the State of North Carolina is three (3).
What types of injuries are covered by workers’ comp in North Carolina?
Put simply, any sort of injury sustained on the job could potentially be covered by workers’ compensation. Having said that, there are factors that determine whether or not you are eligible for workers’ compensation.
Things like how the injury was sustained or whether or not the injury caused by your negligence will be considered when you seek compensation.
Often times, workers’ compensation is associated solely with receiving compensation for a work-related injury.
As we previously stated, work injuries are covered by workers’ compensation, however, if you have become ill due to the direct result of an incident or exposure to harmful materials, you may also be eligible for workers’ compensation.
Common injuries or instances associated with workers’ compensation include:
- Back and neck injuries
- Head injuries and concussions
- Construction-related injuries
- Automobile accident injuries
- Illnesses caused by exposure to harmful chemical or material (I.e. asbestos, lead, radiation, etc.)
- Diseases caused by hazardous work conditions or environments
How quickly must I file a workers’ compensation claim in NC?
In North Carolina, you have 30 days to report your injuries or illness to your employer. This “report” is simply giving both written and oral notice of your injury and how it happened.
If you want to file a workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina, you have 2 years to do so.
In short, if you intend on filing a workers’ compensation lawsuit in North Carolina, you need to first give notice of your injuries or illness to your employees within 30 days of the injury or symptoms and then file your lawsuit within 2 years of the incident.
What types of workers’ compensation benefits can I receive in North Carolina?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to workmans’ comp because it is one of the primary elements you will see vary from state to state. Here is an overview of the benefits compensable in North Carolina:
- Payment for lost wages – receiving compensation if you are unable to work due to a work injury or illness
- Medical assistance and treatment – receiving compensation or coverage for medical bills/costs
- Vocational rehabilitation – assistance in finding a new position or employer due to a disability resulting from a work injury
- Temporary disability – if your injury or illness causes you to miss more than seven (7) days, you will receive total disability benefits (temporarily)
- Permanent disability – If your doctor claims your injuries have reached their maximum healing potential, you will permanently receive disability benefits (amount will vary and is determined by The Industrial Commission)
What is the statute of limitations on a workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina?
In other words, how long can I wait to file a workers’ comp claim in North Carolina.
As previously stated in this article, you must file your workers’ compensation lawsuit within 2 years of the initial incident, and while some circumstances may make this difficult, you also need to give notice to your employer about your illness or injury within 30 days.
Other important North Carolina workers’ comp laws
As workers’ compensation lawyers, we also think the following laws are important when it comes to filing a workers’ compensation lawsuit in North Carolina:
- Mental illness can be covered by workers’ compensation in North Carolina
- Injuries sustained while traveling to or from work are not covered by workers’ compensation
- The North Carolina Industrial Commission oversees/manages workers’ comp laws in North Carolina
Filing a workers’ comp claim in North Carolina
Filing a claim against your employer is usually a pretty intimidating task.
If you plan on returning to work there, it can make the decision to file a claim even more difficult, but it is important to remember that most of the time, your issue is your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider.
In the end, they are the ones responsible for making decisions regarding how you should be compensated for your injuries.
If you even suspect you have been mistreated in the process of receiving compensation for your injuries or illness, we recommend you contact us to schedule a free consultation.
We will listen to your story, research your case, and provide insight as to whether or not you have a case and, if so, the steps we will take to file your claim and get you the compensation you deserve.