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What types of injuries does workers' compensation cover?

North Carolina workers' compensation law provides benefits for employees who suffer work-related injuries. Business owners are required to carry workers' compensation insurance unless they are exempted from that responsibility by statute. Filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits is not the same as filing a lawsuit. It is a request for insurance benefits.

Workers' compensation benefits are available for most injuries that occur on the job, including injuries that happen during lunch and other breaks from the workday and injuries that happen at company-sponsored events away from work. However, injuries that occur on the way to or from work will generally not support a claim unless the employer pays commuting costs, provides the employee's means of transportation or requires the travel as part of the job. Additionally, benefits may not be available for an employee who is injured while running a personal errand or engaging in some other non-work activity during work time.

Preexisting injuries may support a valid claim, if they have been aggravated or accelerated by the work or the work environment. Injuries caused by physical or mental strain that is a result of the stresses or duties of work may give rise to workers' compensation claims, as may diseases that arise as a result of the particular work environment, such as lung cancer resulting from toxins in the air.

Those who are in need of advice about a job injury or workers' compensation benefits should consult an attorney who has experience in workers' compensation matters. Such an attorney can help an injured employee evaluate potential avenues for recovery and assist with the preparation and filing of a claim.

Source: Findlaw, "Workers' Comp In-Depth", September 22, 2014

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