North Carolina workers who suffer a work-related injury may be unsure whether they are eligible for benefits from worker’s compensation. To be eligible, you must sustain an injury by an accident arising out of and in the course and scope of your employment. What does that mean? Each one of these elements is specifically defined by statutes and case law as follows:
- An “injury” is generally a sudden injury and not just the slow development of pain.
- An “accident” is generally considered to be a slip, trip or fall but can also qualify if the injury results from an unusual occurrence, i.e., carrying a heavier weight than normal.
- “Arising out of and in the course and scope of employment” has been defined as the injury occurring during a time when the employee is engaged in work activities or activities which provide a benefit to the employer. However, an injury sustained during regular rest breaks, in parking lots or while away from home on business can also qualify.
What Qualifies As A Workers’ Compensation Claim?
It is actually a pretty simple equation to determine if your injury qualifies. The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act has established that the Industrial Commission determines the parameters under which an injured worker qualifies for benefits. The simple answer is that the temporary or permanent disability must have occurred as a direct result of a work-related accident or job task, with special exceptions made for back injuries.
The injured worker has a 30-day deadline to report the accident and injury to his or her employer. The employer must then notify the Industrial Commission. Many employers wait several days to determine whether the injured worker will recover without need of medical treatment or pay benefits. If the employer refuses or fails to report the incident, the injured worker may file directly with the Industrial Commission.
We offer a free initial consultation to evaluate your workers’ compensation case. From our law office is in Asheville, we serve injured workers and their families throughout North Carolina. Call 828-348-6957 to talk with a lawyer today.
Repetitive Stress Injuries
Some types of qualifying injuries result from years of performing the same types of work tasks over and over. For example, a city bus driver may spend years pulling a lever to open and close the bus doors for passengers. One day, the shoulder can no longer perform the task, not because of an accident, but because the rotator cuff finally wore out and tore from the repetitive actions. Although stress injuries may qualify for benefits, a large percentage of initial claims such as carpal tunnel, torn rotator cuffs and damaged knee ligaments are rejected. Getting assistance from an experienced attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your claim.
Qualifying Workers’ Compensation Claims For Back Injuries
North Carolina provides that no “injury by accident” is necessary for compensation of back injuries. Back pain which results from a “specific traumatic incident” is compensable without any specific accident or incident. In other words, if you have the sudden onset of back pain while engaged in normal work duties the back injury claim should be compensable.
If you are unsure whether your injury, disability or diagnosed illness will qualify for workers’ compensation in North Carolina, talk to an attorney at Ganly & Ramer, P.L.L.C., in Asheville. Our team of experienced lawyers offers more than a quarter century of knowledge and skill helping clients obtain the medical treatment and pay benefits they are entitled to when an injury keeps them off the job.
Call Today To See If Your Injury Qualifies
Call Ganly & Ramer, P.L.L.C. in Asheville today at 828-348-6957 or use our convenient email contact form to arrange a free consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis.