Most employers must purchase workers’ compensation insurance to cover the costs related to employees’ injuries.
It is important to understand what benefits you may receive and how to go about claiming your benefits, so you are not left empty-handed unexpectedly if the insurance company declines your claim.
North Carolina laws
The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act says you, as an employee, should be able to collect workers’ comp benefits if you sustain an injury in a work-related accident or if your job causes an illness.
Be aware that some injuries are more difficult to prove, and the insurance company is less likely to accept those claims. These include repetitive motion injuries that occur over long periods of time such as carpal tunnel or back injuries, as well as injuries obtained while doing routine events where nothing out of the ordinary occurred to cause the physical harm.
- Lost wage compensation: After seven missed workdays you will begin collecting compensation, unless your disability requires you to miss more than 21 days, in which case you will collect payment for all the missed days.
- Payments: You should receive payments weekly at two-thirds of your normal wages. Keep in mind that these payments are not taxable, so your standard of living may not be badly affected.
- Medical bills: Workers’ comp should cover your medical bills in full.
Begin your claim
If you believe your claim is within the guidelines of North Carolina workers’ comp, you must report your injury to your employer, both verbally and in writing as soon as possible or within 30 days. The company should then provide you with a form to file (Form 18) or it will file a Form 19 for you. If not, you can obtain information on your employer’s carrier using the NC insurance overage online search.
Working with a lawyer can provide you with assistance in claiming your benefits and ensuring you do not miss important filing deadlines. As well, you will want to make sure your employer does not hold your claim against you and fire you for the wrong reasons. Your lawyer can examine your situation and help protect your rights.