A work comp benefit is what an injured worker gets following a work-related injury or illness. Generally, a work injury or illness can cause both health and financial disruptions. This is why North Carolina laws mandate all employers to pay workers’ compensation to their injured employees.
The work comp benefit compensates you for some of the losses and keeps you afloat until you return to work. The work comp benefit you get depends on the work injury and the time you need to recover. This article looks at the different work comp benefits in North Carolina. Our Charlotte workers’ comp lawyers at Waple and Houk can help you if you suffer a work-related injury or illness.
What Are the Work Comp Benefits Available in North Carolina?
Below we discuss the different benefits available to injured workers in Charlotte and other parts of North Carolina.
Temporary Disability Benefits
Injured workers who cannot return to work while recovering from a work-related injury or illness get temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. You don’t receive this benefit in the first seven days of your disability. Instead, TTD payment commences when you have been away from work for more than 21 days.
You’ll receive two-thirds of your average weekly wages at the time of your injury, up to the legal maximum for the year you suffered the injury or became disabled. For instance, for work-related wounds that happened in 2020, the maximum payment was $1,066 per week. The minimum amount was $30 per week.
If you can return to work in some capacity but not at the same level before your injury, you will get temporary partial disability benefits (TPD). Here, you’ll also get two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury wages and what you earn now. For instance, suppose you earned $1200 a week before your injury. But currently, earn $600 on light duty; you’ll get $400 as weekly benefits.
Note that both TTD and TPD have a 500-week limit. If you want more TTD benefits, you have to show that you’re still unable to return to work. Under North Carolina laws, if you’re getting a full Social Security retirement benefit, your temporary total disability amount will be reduced by the social security payments.
Permanent Disability Benefits
Before getting permanent disability benefits, a doctor examines you to see if you’ve attained Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). MMI means that there is nothing more medical science can do to improve your condition. After the MMI examination, you’ll also get examined to see if your job injury caused permanent limitations. The amount you’ll get as a benefit depends on the body part affected and your impairment rating.
Scheduled Loss of Use Awards vs. Unscheduled Permanent Partial Disability Awards
Suppose your work injury causes you to permanently lose a body function, like seeing, hearing, or limb loss. Your permanent partial disability benefit will be on a schedule that lists the maximum number of weeks for each body part affected. The payment is two-thirds of your average weekly wages multiplied by the appropriate number of weeks in proportion to your impairment rating.
North Carolina allows you to receive permanent disability benefits in a lump sum rather than weekly benefits. For unscheduled disability award, you can also get a lump sum for some of the following partial disabilities:
- Loss of or permanent injury to a significant internal or external organ, or any part of the body not covered by the schedule
- Severe disfigurement to the head or face
- Severe disfigurement to another part of the body not covered by a scheduled loss
Contact an experienced Charlotte work comp lawyer to know the appropriate benefits you can get for your work-related injury.
What Other Benefits Can You Get?
North Carolina workers’ comp laws also provide additional benefits:
- Medical Care: Work comp will pay for all your medical expenses accrued from the injury treatment and travel expenses to get the treatment.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: You can get this benefit if you’ve been unable to return to work at 75% or more of your pre-injury wages and need to get vocational rehabilitation services like education or retraining.
- Death Benefits and Funeral Expenses: If an employee dies due to a work injury, their surviving beneficiaries can get death benefits. They will also get funeral and burial expenses up to $10,000.
Get Help Today!
If you suffered a work-related injury, our work comp attorneys at Waple and Houk could help you get the appropriate benefit. We will painstakingly examine your medical records to know the types of injury you suffered and get you the maximum compensation.Good timing is essential in work comp cases, so call us today for a free case review.