If you got hurt or sick on the job in Asheville and cannot work as a result, you might be eligible for workers’ compensation relief. The North Carolina workers’ compensation rules are strict. If you miss deadlines or do not comply with certain requirements, you could be denied benefits.
If you are dealing with injuries or an illness significant enough to keep you from working, you should not have to jump through bureaucratic hoops to get the help you need. An Asheville workers’ comp lawyer from Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC could help you navigate the administrative process. We encourage you to reach out to our team today because of how certain deadlines may affect your case.
You can call us today at (828) 286-3866 to get started. The initial consultation is free, and there is no obligation.
An Overview of Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina
The North Carolina Industrial Commission manages workers’ compensation claims in our state. When a worker gets injured on the job or contracts a work-related illness, workers’ compensation rules require that the injury or illness get reported right away to the employer.
The commission explains that the employee should report an injury or illness immediately, both orally and in written form. Your employer likely has a form you should use to make this report. The same source specifies that the report to the employer should happen “in any event, within 30 days.”
Your boss must give you a Form 18 for you to complete and send to the commission. Your employer must also send the commission a Form 19. Both forms notify the commission of the workers’ compensation claim. Employers who self-insure or carry workers’ compensation insurance must post an informational notice in a place where other workers can see it.
How to Identify Your Employer’s Workers’ Compensation Carrier
After notifying your boss of the injury or illness, you can take these steps to find out which insurance carrier handles your workplace’s compensation coverage.
- Search the Insurance Coverage Search System, which is an online search tool,
- Assert a workers’ compensation claim against your employer by filing a Form 18,
- Read the insurance carrier information in the acknowledgment letter that the North Carolina Industrial Commission sends you after your employer or its carrier files a Form 19 that provides notification to the commission of your injury, or
- Contact the commission and request this information.
Sometimes, the employer will provide the insurance carrier information upon the request of the injured or ill worker. An Asheville workers’ comp lawyer at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC can help you prepare your claim for benefits. You can call us today at (828) 286-3866 for a no-cost consultation.
Medical Treatment in Workers’ Compensation Cases
While you can go to your regular doctor to get treatment for your condition, it may not be covered by your employer. Your employer or its carrier will designate which health care providers you can see for the evaluation and treatment of your injury or illness. If you use the approved medical providers, workers’ compensation should pay for the cost of your medical care.
If you go to someone who is not on the list of approved providers, you might have to pay those medical bills out of pocket. When there is a good reason to change health care providers or get treatment from a doctor or hospital who is not on the list, the employee can ask the North Carolina Industrial Commission for approval.
It is usually a good idea to obtain permission before going to a doctor or hospital that is not on the list of approved providers. You take the risk of having to pay these medical bills on your own if you obtain treatment before you receive written permission from your boss, the insurance company, or the commission.
If you have a medical emergency and your employer does not provide the treatment you need, you can go to a doctor or hospital of your choice. You can only receive the initial care from this provider and not ongoing treatment unless approved in advance. Also, if you had to go “off-list” for an urgent medical situation, you should petition the commission right away to approve the expense.
How Workers’ Compensation Pays Lost Wages
If you can complete all these tasks and the commission approves your petition for benefits, you can receive 66 2/3 percent of your average weekly wages up to the current maximum, if you are out of work and meet specific guidelines per the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. The amount of the weekly limit gets adjusted every year.
Your first lost wages check will not include compensation for the first seven days that you missed from work. If your disability runs longer than 21 days, you will get payment for days one through seven retroactively. Weekly lost wages can continue indefinitely until you are able to return to work.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
When a worker’s injury or illness causes one or more of these situations, the employee can be eligible for permanent partial disability benefits if:
- The worker is no longer able to earn the same amount of money as before the injury, regardless of the type of employment they can now perform, or
- The employee suffered a partial or total loss of use of a member of the body.
The disabled worker will receive an impairment rating by a physician. The North Carolina Industrial Commission will use the rating and earnings information to calculate the amount of benefits the worker will receive for their permanent partial disability.
Options if Your Employer Denies Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Sometimes, an employer will deny liability or refuse to acknowledge a workers’ compensation claim. If that happens, the employer is supposed to notify you, your lawyer, the North Carolina Industrial Commission, and all the involved health care providers. They must provide a detailed explanation of the reason for the denial. We can advocate for you in this event.
You do not have to go through this process on your own. You can have an Asheville workers’ comp lawyer on your side.
You can call Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, today at (828) 286-3866 to get started.