Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in North Carolina
Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Attorney
If you have suffered injuries at work in North Carolina, your employer or health insurance company may have advised you to seek benefits under North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act. As a preliminary matter, filing a workers’ compensation claim does not require that injured employees prove that an employer is negligent or at fault for the injury to be compensable. For injuries in the workplace to be compensable, all that is required is that the injury must be accidental and arises out of and in the course of one’s employment.
What Counts as an Accidental Workplace Injury?
Courts in North Carolina have adopted a definition of an “accident” in the context of workers’ compensation that depends on what is routine in an employee’s normal workday. In North Carolina, an accident is something that occurs when the work routine has been interrupted and unusual conditions are created, which are likely to produce unexpected consequences. It must involve more than an employee’s performance of his or her usual and normal duties in the accustomed way. For an injury to be accidental, it must result from an interruption of the employee’s normal work routine that involves unusual conditions. Therefore, compensable injuries are likely to be injuries that occur gradually over time.
For an injury to be compensable, it must also arise out of the ”course and scope” of employment. This occurs when the injury is a natural and likely consequence or incident of employment and as a natural result of one of its risks. There must be some causal relationship between the accident causing the injury and the employee’s performance of his or her duties in the workplace.
Under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, qualifying employment includes employment by the state and all political subdivisions thereof, and any public and quasi-public corporations therein and all private employment in which three or more employees are regularly employed in the same business or establishment. There are various exceptions including those dealing with agricultural and domestic workers and independent contractors.
What are Injured Employees Entitled to?
Employees with compensable injuries are entitled to benefits, which include medical, wage loss, and death benefits. Medical benefits provide medical treatment for injuries. Employees are entitled to treatment that is necessary to cure the injury, lessen disability, and relieve pain. This includes medical services such as doctors’ visits, diagnostic testing, rehabilitation, surgery, prosthetics, and medicine. In some circumstances, treatment may also include an adjustable bed and housing modifications necessary to accommodate physical limitations connected to the injury. Chiropractic treatment may be covered, but if more than twenty visits are necessary, the chiropractor must seek authorization from the employer.
Wage loss benefits involve three different categories.
- Total disability is the total inability to earn any wages because of a compensable injury. This may be temporary or permanent.
- Temporary or permanent partial disability is an employee’s inability to earn the same wages earned prior to suffering a compensable injury. This may apply if an employee cannot return to either the same number of work hours or the same rate of pay prior to suffering an injury. Wage loss benefits are calculated at 66.6% of the injured worker’s pre-tax average weekly wage.
- Death benefits are also compensable in the event an employee is killed as a result of a qualifying work accident. The deceased worker’s dependents are entitled to death benefits and funeral expenses. The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act limits funeral expenses up to $10,000 and death benefits equal to 500 weeks of pay.
If you believe you or a loved one has suffered a compensable work injury, the attorneys at Bice Law, LLC can help you navigate the complex process of filing a workers’ compensation claim. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.
Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law
The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability. We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly. Call 877-BICE-877 today or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.