The process of claiming workers compensation is as follows:
- Receive medical attention
- Report the injury to your employer promptly
File a claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC)
In This Article
Seeing a Workers’ Compensation-Approved Medical Provider
After an accident or injury, the first thing you should do is attend to your own physical well-being. This may involve seeking appropriate medical treatment at your employer’s on-site healthcare provider – such as a designated company clinic – or a hospital emergency room.
Once you seek treatment, you should inform them that your injury was work-related so that the treatment can be billed under the category of a workers’ compensation claim. This also establishes right away that your injuries occurred on the job, which can help prove your case should you decide to take legal action down the line.
If your injury is not serious or life-threatening, you can delay medical care long enough to report the injury to your employer. Otherwise, wait until after your condition is stabilized before making this report.
Types of Medical Care
Medical treatment can fall under three types of categories:
- General medical services: These services include surgery, nursing, rehabilitation, and, possibly, attendant care services.
- Medical supplies: Supplies could include medicine, prescribed medical equipment, sick travel, and vocational rehabilitation.
- Prosthetics: Both the initial prosthetic and subsequent replacements that your healthcare provider prescribed may be covered under workers’ compensation.
If your injury can be classified as an occupational disease, you should give notice to either your supervisor or workers’ compensation administrator (WCA) once you are diagnosed by a certified medical professional. Some examples of common occupational diseases include:
- Allergic and irritant dermatitis
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Fertility and reproductive abnormalities
You should also note when you started exhibiting symptoms of the illness. This can help prevent your employer from trying to claim that something other than your job (e.g., smoking) caused your illness.
For a legal consultation, call 828.286.3866
Telling Your Employer About the Injury
If you are injured while working, you should report the injury to your employer or direct supervisor as soon as possible. If your manager is not on duty at the time, report the injury to any other supervisor who is present.
You can report your injury orally or send an email or letter to your employer. However, it is advisable to try to document all communications between you and your employer. Providing documentation can build a stronger claim when filing for workers’ compensation.
You Have 30 Days to Report Your Injury
If your company has a workers’ compensation administrator or an equivalent department, you should report the injury to them no later than 30 days after the incident. If your injury is reported too late, your employer may be able to refuse compensation.
General guidelines for reporting your injury include:
- Keep it clear and simple: The notice itself does not have to be a highly detailed report of the injury; it can be a simple statement consisting of the date of the accident and a brief description of the injury or disease.
- Get help if you need it: If you are incapacitated at the time and cannot write a statement, you can ask a family member or friend to write the statement for you.
- Keep copies: It is strongly recommended to keep a copy of the report for yourself, as well as copies of all documents produced during the process of filing a claim.
If at any point you have trouble filing a report – either because you do not know what to include or because your employer refuses to accept responsibility for the accident – you have the right to hire a workers’ compensation attorney to assist you.
Filing a Claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission
Once your employer receives notice of your injury, you must file an official claim with the NCIC. This may include filing:
- Form 18: Completing Form 18 is the first step in formally filing for workers’ compensation.
- Form 18B: This form applies to those filing for occupational lung disease.
- Form 18M: Use this form to request additional medical compensation.
Once you have formally filed for workers’ compensation, your employer will decide whether they will accept or deny your claim. If the claim is accepted, your company will authorize coverage for your medical expenses.
Your healthcare provider will then determine the long-term symptoms of your condition and how long they will keep you from working. You will be assigned a disability rating if you have not been able to recover from your injury.
What Is the Process of Appealing a Workers’ Compensation Denial?
There are several ways your claim could be denied or run into trouble, including the following:
- Your employer refuses to file a claim on your behalf (in which case you have the right to do it yourself).
- Your employer or their insurance determines that your injury or illness is not work-related.
- Your medical provider tries to send you back to work before you are ready or deny a particular treatment that you feel is necessary.
You can challenge all of these decisions by requesting a hearing with the NCIC. They will examine your case and determine if you are entitled to compensation. If the NCIC rules in your favor, your employer’s insurer will be legally obligated to cover your medical treatment. Your treatment will be paid for until you have fully recovered or your condition has reached maximum improvement.
Need Help with Your Claim?
Anyone can experience an injury while at work. However, you should not have to shoulder the burden of paying for your medical expenses and suffering the consequences of lost wages.
A worker’s compensation lawyer can help you through the entire workers’ compensation filing process. This way, you can fight for the money you need without adding undue stress to an already stressful situation.
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We Can Help You File for Workers’ Compensation
If you have been injured on the job, the process of claiming workers’ compensation can be difficult and time-consuming. This is especially true if you are recovering from a severe injury or managing a disease caused directly by your workplace. This is where we come in. Our workers’ compensation lawyers can help you navigate the process of filing a claim so that you can recover in peace.
Call Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC today at (828) 286-3866 to see how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.