What is Workers’ Compensation?
The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act provides benefits to employees who are injured as a result of a work-related accident, or who develop an illness or disease related to their jobs. Those benefits include:
- Weekly wage loss benefits for any periods of time that a doctor takes an injured worker out of work or assigns work restrictions that the injured worker’s employer cannot accommodate.
- Payment of medical bills related to the injury.
- Reimbursement for mileage to and from doctors’ appointments that are over 20 miles roundtrip.
- Payment for permanent injury, also known as a rating, to the injured body part in some cases.
We can help ensure that you are receiving all the benefits to which you are entitled under the law and assist you if you are experiencing delays in your medical treatment.
EXAMPLES OF WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIMS
- Injuries at the Workplace, including in Office Environments
- Injuries While Traveling for Work, including Out-of-Town Travel
- Construction Site Injuries
- Injuries from Equipment and Machinery
- Car Accidents While on the Job
- Injuries During Air Travel
- Injuries of flight attendants, pilots, and baggage handlers, and ground crew
- Healthcare Injuries
- Exposure to Contagious Diseases
- Injuries Inflicted by a Patient
- Catastrophic Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Closed Head Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Burn Injuries
- Electrocution and Other Electrical Injury
- Inhalation of or Exposure to Harmful Chemicals
- Assaults at Work Causing Physical or Psychological Injury
- Disfigurement and Scarring
- Occupational Diseases
- Other Wear-and-Tear Injuries from Repetitive Motion Over Lengthy Career
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIMS
What benefits am I entitled to if I am hurt at work?
If your claim is compensable, you are entitled to wage loss benefits for any periods of time that your doctor holds you out of work, payment of your medical bills related to your injury, reimbursement for your mileage to and from doctors’ appointments that are over 20 miles roundtrip , and payment for permanent injury (a rating) to the injured body part in some cases.
How much will I get paid for wage loss?
If your claim is compensable, you will be entitled to weekly checks in the amount of 66 2/3% of your average weekly wage, which is most often determined by looking at the injured worker’s earnings during the 52 weeks preceding the accident.
This amount is not taxable.
What is a rating, and how is it determined?
A rating is a percentage of permanent disability to the injured body part. This is called maximum medical improvement or MMI. In some cases, the injured worker may be entitled to money for their permanent disability at this point based on the percentage assigned by the doctor(s). The injured worker is entitled to a second opinion on the rating with a doctor of his or her own choice. Based on the percentage assigned by the doctor(s), the injured worker may be entitled to money for permanent disability in certain cases.
Am I entitled to pain and suffering?
No. Unlike other areas of the law, pain and suffering is not a damage or benefit that can be recovered through a workers’ compensation claim.
Can I sue my employer for my injury?
Your workers’ compensation claim is your exclusive remedy against your employer in North Carolina. There may be an exception to this rule in very limited situations. However, you may have a claim against a third party other than your employer, like another driver in an automobile accident or the manufacturer of a machine that you use at work. We can assist you in determining this.
Can my employer fire me if I was injured at work?
Your employer cannot retaliate against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. However, they may still terminate you for other reasons. If you are concerned that you have been wrongfully terminated from your job, or that you might be, please contact us.
My injury has affected my marriage or relationship, can I do anything about that?
The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act does not provide a mechanism for spouses to recover damages for losses they experience as a result of a worker’s injury. However, in some cases, a spouse, family, or household member may be eligible to receive payment for care they are providing to an injured worker, when that care has been ordered by a doctor. If you think this may apply in your case, you should contact one of our attorneys to discuss benefits that may have been overlooked in your claim.
In cases where the injured worker can no longer do basic things for himself of herself (e.g. prepare food, get dressed, move about their home without assistance, etc.), a doctor may recommend attendant care or supervision for a certain amount of time per day. This care may be provided through an outside home health agency or by family or household members. If this care has been recommended in your case, or you think you may need this care, we can assist you in obtaining it. We can also assist you in pursuing payment for your family members for providing this care to you. We have litigated the issue of attendant care extensively in our appellate courts.