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What is the process for reporting a work accident?

Under the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act, all employers with at least three employees are required to have workers' compensation coverage or be approved for self-insurance so that employees receive workers' compensation benefits in the event of a work accident that causes injury. There are five steps that workers should follow to report their injuries properly and start claims for workers' compensation.

First, an injured employee needs to report the accident and injury to the employer and seek the appropriate treatment. Employers may instruct workers to see on-site or designated off-site health care providers. If neither of these is available and appropriate for the accident injury, the employee may seek appropriate medical care elsewhere. Second, upon speaking with a health care professional, the worker needs to note that the injury occurred on the job and provide the employer's name, allowing the treatment to be billed under workers' compensation.

Next, the employee needs to notify the appropriate manager or owner of the workplace injury. Workers who are incapable of reporting the injury on their own may ask their relatives, friends or health care providers to do it. The fourth step is to provide the employer with a written notice that includes the accident date and describes the injury. Relatives or friends may write the letters for workers who are unable to do it themselves. Finally, the employee should follow the health care provider's instructions for treatment.

Although every situation is different, a construction worker who falls from scaffolding and suffers back and leg injuries could follow these steps to begin a claim for workers' compensation benefits. It may be advisable to talk to a lawyer about the best course of action.

Source: North Carolina Industrial COmmission, "If you have been injured at work", October 07, 2014

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