If an employee somehow suffers a workplace injury in North Carolina, they may qualify to file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation insurance was designed to address work-related injuries. It is a type of no-fault insurance that provides wage reimbursement up to certain limits and medical coverage to workers injured on the job.
Most workers in North Carolina qualify for these benefits. If you sustain injuries related to your job, a Columbus workers’ compensation lawyer from Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, can assist with your case. We can help you file a claim for any benefits you may be entitled to collect or challenge a denial of your claim.
In This Article
- Who Handles Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina?
- You Must Meet Filing Requirements to Receive Workers’ Compensation
- Determining a Work Return Date and Maximum Benefits Available
- Employees May File a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Various Injuries
- Our Attorneys Can Help You File for Workers’ Compensation in Columbus
- Contact Us Today for Help with Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Who Handles Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina?
The North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) administers workers’ compensation in North Carolina. If you work for a covered employer, many types of work-related accidents could entitle you to file a workers’ compensation claim, including vehicle collisions, slips and falls, and machine accidents.
According to the NCIC, all employers that have three or more workers are required to provide this type of no-fault insurance for all employees, starting from the first shift they work. This covers most workers in the state. There are some exceptions, such as federal employees and railroad workers, but most of those are covered by different laws and other programs.
If you are not sure if benefits are available to you or your employer does not provide coverage, but you believe they should, our attorneys can assess your legal options. Employers who fail to provide workers’ compensation or self-insure their workers could face stiff financial penalties, criminal charges, and other consequences.
For a legal consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer serving Columbus, call 828.286.3866
You Must Meet Filing Requirements to Receive Workers’ Compensation
In general, you must satisfy the four criteria below to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits:
- You must be an eligible employee of a covered business.
- Your employer must have workers’ compensation coverage – North Carolina requires most businesses with at least three workers to carry it.
- Your illness or injury must be work-related.
- You must meet the filing deadlines for reporting your injury and satisfy the evidentiary requirements for proving the cause and extent of your injury.
When the process goes smoothly, the worker reports their injury or work-related illness to their employer. The employer notifies the insurer, and this begins the claims process. The worker’s medical coverage begins immediately – as long as they see an approved doctor – and they will receive wage loss benefits after missing seven days at work. However, things do not always go this smoothly.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim Involves Seeking Medical Treatment
To file a workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina, you must first report your injury to your employer and seek medical treatment. You may be required to undergo any treatments at a pre-approved panel hospital or with specific doctors. If you must receive treatment of any sort from a family or non-panel doctor, be sure to keep a record of the care provided and any related expenses.
When receiving treatment, you must tell your healthcare provider that your injury or injuries are work-related. Your provider will file your treatment expenses under a workers’ compensation claim with information for you and your employer. You should not receive a bill. Instead, the payments for your care should be paid directly by the workers’ compensation insurer.
North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Deadlines
In most cases, you must inform your employer about your work-related accident, in writing, within 30 days of suffering the injury. Additionally, according to G.S. § 97-58, the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims in Columbus and throughout North Carolina is two years from the day of the injury. You will need to file your claim with the NCIC within that time limit to preserve your right to compensation.
There are also timelines you should know about if you must challenge the decision the insurer makes in your case. If the insurer denies your claim, you can dispute the denial. If mediation does not lead to an agreement, a hearing will be scheduled with the Deputy Commissioner within one to two months. A Columbus workers’ compensation attorney from Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, can handle this for you and represent you during this appeal.
We know the evidence necessary to prove your claim and get approval for medical care coverage and wage loss benefits. However, sometimes we need to take this process even further. Once the Deputy Commissioner issues a decision, we will have 15 days to file an appeal if they do not approve your claim. Our workers’ compensation attorneys in Columbus can help you at each stage of this process.
Columbus Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Near Me 828.286.3866
Determining a Work Return Date and Maximum Benefits Available
Once you meet all deadlines and requirements and undergo any necessary treatments, you can discuss possible timelines for returning to work with your doctor. According to the NCIC, as long as your injury prevents you from returning to work, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits equal to about two-thirds of your usual wages, up to a maximum set by state law. In 2021, this maximum is $1,102 per week.
The legal team at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, can help if you would like to receive assistance with reporting your injuries and gathering related evidence to prove your claim. Our workers’ compensation lawyers can also provide more details about the filing process and the limits of your benefits. In addition, we can help clients handle issues related to workers’ compensation claims, such as:
- Employers who want them to return to work too soon
- Employers who will not file their claim with the NCIC
- Incorrectly calculated wage loss benefits
- Concerns over the workers’ compensation doctor and getting a second opinion
- Claims denials
Employees May File a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Various Injuries
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported that over 5,000 employees suffered a fatal injury at work in 2019. Additionally, OSHA data shows that the five leading causes of workplace deaths are:
- Transportation incidents
- Slip and fall events
- Exposure to harmful substances
- Contact with objects or equipment
- Workplace violence
However, workers’ compensation covers all forms of work-related accidents and injuries. Here are some common types of workplace accidents and injuries that may entitle an employee in Columbus to workers’ compensation benefits:
Abrasions and Lacerations Can Be Common
An abrasion is a superficial cut or scrape, while lacerations are deeper cuts that can lead to significant amounts of blood loss. These injuries can happen in many different industries, including retail, hospitality, manufacturing, and health services. Rushed work, inadequate worker training, and inadequate or insufficient safety gear can contribute to abrasion and laceration injuries.
Overworking Can Lead to Employee Mistakes
Complaints of overwork and overexertion are common when many businesses are understaffed. Overexertion can cause sprains and strains or torn muscles. In addition, unexpected falls and drowsiness can also lead to machine or vehicle accidents.
Chronic Injuries Occur Because of Repetitive Motions
Chronic use exertion injuries may occur when workers make the same motions regularly while handling work-related tasks. This could include back, knee, or shoulder injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, and more. If you have pain or other symptoms you believe are work-related, you should consider it a workers’ compensation injury until your doctor tells you otherwise.
Hazardous Chemical and Thermal Burns
Hazardous chemicals are used extensively in manufacturing and factory work. Improper storage, handling, or transportation of such chemicals may lead to serious burns.
Thermal burns can occur in similar settings and are common in hospitals and restaurants as well. Workers can also suffer respiratory tract burns from inhaling chemicals, smoke, or other toxins on the job.
Other Physical Injuries Due to Various Workplace Risks
Other work-related injuries may occur if you slip and fall or get into a car wreck while working. Employees working in inherently dangerous environments, such as on construction sites, might be at an increased risk of breaking or fracturing a bone or suffering other injuries.
Some of the leading causes of fatal and non-fatal workplace accidents that can lead to injuries include:
- Construction site falls
- Machinery accidents
- Falling objects
- Floor hazards
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Our Attorneys Can Help You File for Workers’ Compensation in Columbus
Some workers’ compensation cases are fairly straightforward. If you suffered minor injuries, and your employer approves your claim for benefits without protest, you can receive the support you need and get back to work as soon as your injuries heal and your doctor releases you.
However, not all workplace injury cases are simple, and navigating the process alone can be overwhelming while you’re recovering. You may want to seek legal support to ensure you leave nothing out of your application or miss any deadlines. Hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer to guide you can be particularly beneficial if:
- You had preexisting conditions affected by your injury.
- Your injury was severe.
- Your employer contests aspects of your claim.
Additionally, you may wish to seek legal counsel if you were, in any way, discriminated against, intimidated, or threatened while filing a claim. Finally, you may want to get a workers’ compensation lawyer in Columbus if you suffered catastrophic losses or injuries of any sort because of gross negligence or serious misconduct. In some cases, you may be able to file a third-party personal injury lawsuit against someone besides your employer or a coworker if they caused your injuries.
Contact Us Today for Help with Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
A Columbus workers’ compensation lawyer at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, can review your case today for free. Furthermore, our team may help you gather evidence to support your claim and file your case within the legal parameters. We offer complimentary case reviews and represent injured workers based on contingency fees. We will not ask your family to pay anything upfront.
Do not hesitate to reach out to us. Call us at (828) 286-3866 now to speak to a team member for more information on our services.