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Workers' compensation court decision affects North Carolina

For an individual who enjoys his or her job or heavily relies on the income it provides, being injured on the job can be detrimental. It is in this situation where workers' compensation can be an employee's saving grace. Still, a new decision by the North Carolina Court of Appeals may have a negative impact on some recipients of workers' compensation in the state.

The court of appeals recently decided that an employee may be determined ineligible to receive workers' compensation benefits if he or she continues to be unemployed for a reason other than an injury. Employers therefore are examining whether certain former workers are no longer entitled to the benefits they have been receiving. This is true for employees who are collecting partial disability benefits along with workers' compensation benefits due to an injury sustained in the workplace.

For instance, if an injured employee has been receiving partial workers' compensation benefits and is suddenly laid off due to a bad economy, his workers' compensation benefits may also be stopped. According to the court, this is because it wasn't his injury that kept him from working but rather, it was the slow economy. This is especially the case if a doctor says that the worker is physically able to keep working in spite of his or her injury.

Workers' compensation certainly can help an employee and his or her family to stay afloat if the worker has been injured or fallen ill while on the job. An employer may not terminate an employee just because he or she has filed a workers' compensation claim, either. Understanding changing laws in this field in North Carolina will help an employee to ensure that he or she is receiving the maximum level of benefits and medical treatment that he or she deserves following a work accident.

Source: Business Management Daily, Review whether partially disabled employees can be removed from workers' comp, No author, Dec. 10, 2013

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