How Does Workers Compensation Work in North Carolina?
Unless you’ve been through the process before, dealing with the workers compensation system in North Carolina can be daunting. Most people who get hurt at work have no idea what steps they’re supposed to take to file for workers comp. They know they’re supposed to report the injury to their employer. And they know they’re supposed to fill out paperwork. But beyond that, most of our clients are lost. That’s why our workers comp lawyers in Charlotte offer potential clients a free consultation before they decide how they want to proceed.
Workers’ compensation was designed to protect employees who got injured on the job. It also protects employers. Rather than have to defend a lawsuit by every employee who gets hurt, companies can depend on workers compensation insurance to cover any injuries suffered by their staff. Here, we will discuss how the workers compensation system in North Carolina works. We will also explain what the requirements for workers compensation are. We will describe the benefits you’ll receive if your workers comp claim is approved. Finally, we’ll discuss the reasons why it’s in your best interest to hire a personal injury lawyer in Charlotte as soon as possible after your workplace accident.
Why Was the Workers Compensation System Implemented in North Carolina?
Workers’ compensation was initially implemented in North Carolina as a way to protect employees who got injured on the job. Prior to adopting the workers compensation system, people who got injured on the job had no choice but to sue their employer. Since most people could not afford to hire a personal injury lawyer in Charlotte, they simply continued to work despite the pain they were in.
Many employees lost their jobs because they were no longer able to perform their duties. They would either go without an income until they were fully healed or were able to find another job and work through the pain. Today, workers no longer have to suffer in this way.
If somebody gets injured at work and meets the basic criteria for workers comp, they’ll be allowed to collect benefits until they are fully recovered. Of course, there are times when an employee’s workers comp claim is denied. There are other times when employees feel that they are pressured to return to work before they’re ready. When this happens, a workers compensation lawyer in Charlotte can help.
How Does Your Workers Compensation Lawyer in Charlotte Prove You Deserve Benefits?
In order to receive benefits, your personal injury lawyer in Charlotte will have to prove that you qualify for workers comp. This isn’t as simple as it may seem. A lot of our clients think that they’re entitled to benefits simply because they got hurt at work. They have no idea that there are other factors that are taken into account when evaluating a worker’s comp claim.
In North Carolina, as in most other states, you must meet the following criteria before you can collect workers compensation benefits:
- you must suffer a workplace accident or injury
- your injury must occur while you’re on the clock
- if you are a salaried employee, your injury must occur while you’re acting within the scope of your employment
- the injury typically must occur on company property
- you must not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of your workplace accident
- you must report your injury immediately
- you must agree to be treated by a state- approved workers compensation physician
- you must submit to a drug test prior to treatment
This list seems rather long. This is because your employer can deny your claim if you don’t meet any of these requirements. Insurance companies are not in the business of paying claims. They will look to find a way to discredit your claim and deny your benefits. Your workers compensation lawyer in Charlotte’s goal is to make sure this doesn’t happen.
What Type of Benefits Do You Receive?
If you are approved for workers compensation, you’ll be entitled to certain benefits. There are three main types of benefits you’ll receive. The first type of benefit is medical care for any injuries sustained at work. The second type of benefits are replacement wages until you are ready to return to work. Finally, the third type of benefit is career training or rehabilitation. This can help you find another job or become suitable for a new position if you’re no longer able to do the job you had before your injury.
It’s important to break down how your weekly replacement wages are calculated and paid. The following guidelines should give you a good idea of how workers compensation benefits work in Charlotte, North Carolina:
- Employees who are out on workers comp are entitled to weekly replacement wages
- Your weekly benefits are equal to 2/3 of your average weekly wages
- You must miss at least seven days from work before your benefits will kick in
- Once you have been out of work for at least 21 days, you’ll receive a retroactive payment for the initial seven days
- The maximum amount you can receive per week is $1,102
- North Carolina offers one of the longest benefits periods of 500 weeks
As you can see, you will not receive your full salary while out on workers compensation. Even though most people receive 2/3 of their average weekly wages, if you earn more than approximately $1,600 per week, you will only receive the maximum amount of $1,102. As far as the 500-week duration is concerned, very few cases ever reach this point. Most employees are ready to return to work within a few months or maybe a year. Very rarely would anybody be out of work for close to 10 years. In fact, once you have reached the one-year mark, your workers compensation lawyer in Charlotte will try to negotiate a settlement of your claim.
Can a Personal Injury Lawyer in Charlotte Really Help?
If you or your spouse are injured at work and are confused about what to do next, contact our office directly. We can help you schedule your free, initial consultation over the phone or through our website. This will give you a chance to have a seasoned personal injury lawyer in Charlotte review your case and let you know whether your claim should be approved. Since this initial consultation is free, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.