Workers’ compensation is a program that helps employees when they are injured at work. As an employee, you have a right to receive workers’ compensation if you were injured on the job or developed an illness due to your working conditions.
Employees may have other rights under workers’ compensation, provided their employer carries workers’ compensation insurance. According to the North Carolina Department of Insurance (NC DOI), any business with three or more employees is required to carry this type of insurance.
To learn more about your rights under workers’ compensation, read below.
There Are Four Types of Federal Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you are a federal worker or a dependent of a federal worker and you sustained a work-related injury or illness, you may be able to pursue workers’ compensation through the U.S. Department of Labor. According to their Office of Workers’ Compensation, there are four different compensation programs:
- Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program
- Federal Employees’ Compensation Program
- Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Program
- Federal Black Lung Program
If you fall under one of these federal worker categories, you may file a claim for workers’ compensation.
However, if you work for the state or local government or a private business, you must apply for workers’ compensation through the North Carolina Industrial Commission (IC). In order to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must first prove you are disabled. If you are approved for workers’ compensation, you may receive benefits for your workplace injury or illness.
Your benefits under workers’ compensation might include:
Wage Replacement Benefits
If you are injured while working, you might be able to receive wage replacement benefits if you cannot work. You have the right to be able to receive income while you are out of work. Everyone has bills they need to pay. Missing out on hours at work can severely impact your life if you do not receive any income.
That being said, your workers’ compensation benefits will not be equal to your full income. You may expect to receive up to 66 percent of your previous income.
After being injured at work, your medical costs can add up quickly. Depending on your injury, you might have a variety of medical bills to pay. If you were injured while working, you might be eligible for workers’ compensation to cover the cost of your medical treatment. Your medical treatment expenses might include costs for:
- Emergency room visits
- Diagnostic tests
- Doctor’s appointments
- Physical therapy
Your injury might also be an injury or illness that develops slowly over time. As long as your job caused it, you may be able to get compensated for the medical treatment you need to treat your injury or illness. The damage does not have to happen suddenly or all at once. For example, if your job requires repeated movement that results in knee pain, you might be compensated for treatment as long as you can prove disability.
Vocational rehabilitation is a service that helps workers come back into the workplace after they have been injured. When you have to take time off work due to a workplace injury, it is your right to return to the same job you had before.
Vocational rehabilitation can help you have an easier transition back into the workplace. This might include reducing the amount of work temporarily or reducing your hours until you can return to work full-time. It might also involve refreshing your skills by giving additional courses or training if needed. Vocational rehabilitation may vary, depending on your injuries and job.
For a legal consultation, call 828.286.3866
Not All Workers or Injuries May Be Covered by Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation does not cover certain people. These people include:
- Private contractors
- Business owners
- Domestic workers
- Employees of business with less than three employees
Specific injuries are not covered as well. If you sustained injuries outside of the workplace while being off the clock, your injuries do not qualify for workers’ compensation. Employers may deny providing workers’ compensation benefits to employees who were intoxicated by alcohol or drugs at the time of injury. Also, injuries caused by employees fighting or engaging in horseplay may not be covered.
Your Rights Under Workers’ Compensation Protects You from Retaliation
You have rights under workers’ compensation. Retaliation against an employee who files for workers’ compensation is illegal. An employer cannot retaliate against one of their employees due to a workers’ compensation claim.
Workers’ compensation is a protected right. If an employee feels as though they are being retaliated against because of a workers’ compensation claim, they can take legal action against their employer. Retaliation might include:
- A pay cut
- Reduction or elimination of bonuses
- Lessened work hours
- Shift change
How Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, Can Help
When a person gets injured, it can make a significant impact on their life. They might have medical bills to pay and lose hours at work. It can dig a financial hole.
Workers’ compensation might be able to help you recover some of your losses. If you need workers’ compensation, our team at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, can walk you through the claims process.
If you applied for workers’ compensation but were denied, you may have the right to appeal that decision. Our team can work with you to file your appeal and fight for workers’ compensation on your behalf. You have the right to receive workers’ compensation if you were injured on the job. Let our team help protect those rights. Call us today at (828) 286-3866 for a free consultation.