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Workplace Injuries: What Should I Do If I’m Injured On The Job?

| Mar 1, 2021 | Personal Injury, Worker's Compensation

The world of workers’ compensation can be confusing for injured workers to navigate on their own. Each state has a program that allows injured workers to apply for and obtain benefits, “compensation,” after suffering a work-related injury. Each state’s program is a little different, so an injured worker’s experience may vary depending on the state.

In North Carolina, worker’s compensation is governed by the Worker’s Compensation Act.[1] The North Carolina Industrial Commission manages the workers’ compensation program. Because the program is run by an administrative body (the Commission), workers’ compensation cases are handled differently than other types of cases. For example, the Commission uses its own electronic filing system.

Generally speaking, employers with more than three regular employees are required to offer workers compensation coverage for their employees in the event of personal injury or death by accident during the course and scope of employment. This means most employers carry workers compensation insurance for their employees or are self-insured.

The benefits available to eligible workers for injuries by accident include coverage for medical bills (“medical compensation”) and lost wages (“indemnity compensation”). Wage loss benefits are calculated based on 66 2/3% of the employee’s average weekly wage, and there is a maximum cap on the weekly amount that depends on the year of the injury that can be found here.  Once treatment has concluded, then the injured employee may qualify for additional benefits if there is an impairment rating for a permanent injury.  The award for permanent injuries is a scheduled amount depending on the body part injured and the percentage amount of the impairment rating. [2]  In the event of death due to the injury, death benefits of 500 weeks of indemnity compensation are available to dependent beneficiaries, or in the case where there are no dependent beneficiaries, the benefits are paid to “next of kin” heirs according to intestate succession.

Not all injuries are compensable. An injury or death is compensable if it (1) was caused by an accident; (2) arose out of the employment; and (3) was sustained in the course of the employment.[3] These can be tricky elements to meet and you might need to consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to determine if your injury is compensable.

If you have been injured, it is very important that you notify your employer and seek medical treatment. Your employer might direct you to an on-site or designated off-site health care provider. Be sure to tell your health care provider that your injury is work-related so that the provider can bill the treatment as a worker’s compensation claim. As soon as practical after the accident, and within thirty days, you must provide written notice to your employer. The notice should provide the date of the accident and a brief description of the injury. Be sure to keep a copy of this notice. You should review Industrial Commission’s Injured Worker’s Page for detailed steps for reporting your injury. You must complete and submit Form 18 to the Industrial Commission to file your claim.

Having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side will be an asset to you as you navigate the workers’ compensation process. If you have experienced a work-related injury you can call the law firm of Grimes Yeoman at (704) 321-4878 or contact us online for counsel and advice tailored to your case.

[1] The North Carolina Worker’s Compensation Act is codified under Article 1 of Chapter 97 of the North Carolina General Statutes.

[2] N.C.G.S. §97-31.

[3] N.C.G.S. §97-2(6).