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How can workers' compensation help me?

Workers injured on the job in North Carolina may wonder what options are available to help them and their families during what may be a difficult road ahead. Although additional resources may be available depending on the circumstances, one common option to assist workers harmed on the job is workers' compensation insurance. Workers' compensation insurance is insurance carrier by employers for the benefit of employees harmed on-the-job.

To begin with, workplace injuries should promptly be reported to an employer and always within 30 days in writing. The goal of the workers' compensation system is to ensure that injured employees receive medical care that allows them to recover from the injuries and harm they have suffered in a workplace accident. The workers' compensation insurance program is designed to allow for an injured worker's medical expenses to be paid for so that the injured worker can focus on recovery.

In addition, lost wages may be available in some circumstances to injured workers through the workers' compensation system. Compensation for lost wages is not due for the first 7 days the worker spends away from work due to the injury or harm, however, once the disability exceeds 21 days, compensation for lost wages is due and lost wages for the first 7 days will be paid. In general, injured workers will receive lost wages compensation on a weekly basis. Two-thirds of the average weekly wage, subject to a maximum amount, is compensated. The worker is able to receive benefits until they return to work.

Compensation for permanent partial disability may also be available in some circumstances for the loss of use of part of the body or an inability to earn the same wages as prior to the injury or harm suffered. Although the workers' compensation process may be fairly straightforward, workers may encounter a variety of complexities when making a claim. It is important to understand how to respond and to have a careful understanding of the process to ensure that much-needed benefits, intended to help injured workers, are received when a worker has suffered an on-the-job-injury.

Source: North Carolina Industrial Commission, "For Injured Workers," Accessed Jan. 5, 2015

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