There are four different types of workers’ compensation benefits in North Carolina available for eligible employees. These benefits include medical expenses, wage reimbursement, compensation for vocational rehabilitation services, and death benefits. The exact amount you receive for each type will depend on the circumstances of the accident, your specific injuries, and your income.
Generally, workers’ compensation benefits are available to all employees in North Carolina to help them recover from accidents at work. The goal of each type of benefit for workers’ compensation is to help you recover so you can get back to work when medically appropriate.
North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Benefits Include Medical Costs
One of the most important aspects of any workers’ compensation claim is getting the medical treatment you need. According to G.S. § 97-25, the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, employers must provide compensation for medical expenses. Generally, the employers’ insurance company pays this compensation.
The Act defines medical compensation to include:
- Medical care
- Hospital stays
- Transportation to appointments
- Approved attendant health care services
- Medical and surgical supplies
- Any other treatment that gives relief to the injured employee or lessens the period of disability
In most cases, your employer has the right to require you to use their contracted care provider. However, you have the right to a second opinion regarding your injury, as well as the right to petition the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) for a change of treating physician.
However, in cases where you change physicians, you will need written permission from your employer, their insurance carrier, or the NCIC before your benefits are guaranteed.
For a legal consultation with a lawyer serving North Carolina and South Carolina, call 828.286.3866
Benefits for Lost Wages Fall Into Four Categories
Lost wages are often the most complex of all the different types of workers’ compensation benefits available in North Carolina. If your injuries prevent you from returning to work, either temporarily or permanently, you may be eligible for these benefits. Under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, you are considered disabled if you cannot earn wages because of your injury.
There are four different classifications of disability in North Carolina workers’ compensation. Your specific classification depends on your injury and your expected recovery time. The categories include:
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): This provides compensation if you are hurt at work but can still return to work in suitable employment at a lower wage than before. TPD benefits cover two-thirds of the difference between your pre- and post-injury wages.
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD): This compensates you if you cannot return to work in any capacity because of your injury. TTD benefits pay you two-thirds of your weekly wage up to the NCIC’s maximum limits.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD): These benefits apply when you reach the maximum medical improvement (MMI) but have a lasting injury that impairs a specific part of your body. Your physician will give you an impairment rating based on the severity of the injury. Then, you can either opt for compensation similar to other disability benefits or benefits specified in G.S. § 97-31.
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD): This compensates you for the remainder of your life if you can never return to work due to the injury. To qualify for these benefits, you must have one of the conditions outlined in G.S. § 97-29 and receive approval from the NCIC.
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Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits Help with Your Return to Work
One of the types of workers’ compensation benefits outlined in North Carolina law is vocational rehab. This is included in medical compensation and, therefore, the responsibility of your employer and their insurance carrier.
According to G.S. § 97-32.2, these benefits include a vocational assessment and a treatment plan to increase your wage-earning capacity. The specific services listed include:
- Vocational exploration
- Sheltered workshop
- Community-supported employment training
- Job analysis, modification, development, and placement
- Analysis of transferable skills
- On-the-job training
- Education, as reasonable, through the North Carolina community college or university systems
Surviving Family Can Receive Benefits in Fatal Workplace Accidents
In cases involving a workplace fatality, qualifying surviving family members may be eligible for compensation for death benefits. According to G.S. § 97-37, any compensation that the deceased employee was entitled to for the injuries shall be paid to the dependents outlined in the statute.
Under North Carolina workers’ compensation laws, death benefits provide weekly payment of two-thirds of the deceased’s average weekly wages. These benefits can last up to 500 weeks when paid to the dependents. The deceased’s next of kin can also receive it as a lump sum if no dependents exist.
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Discuss Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claim Today
If you have questions about the different types of benefits available in North Carolina workers’ compensation claims, we can help. At Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, we can explain the benefits you may be eligible for depending on your case.
Call (828) 286-3866 for more information in a free consultation.