Most employees who have been injured in an on-the-job accident in North Carolina will be eligible for workers’ compensation. You should have your application for worker’s comp benefits completed or reviewed by a Raleigh workers’ compensation lawyer.
If you have already applied for workers’ comp benefits and your claim has been denied, a workers’ compensation attorney can appeal that denial on your behalf. Once you have been approved for worker’s compensation benefits, when do you actually start receiving checks?
If you’ll keep reading this brief discussion of workers’ compensation benefits in North Carolina, you’ll learn that answer, and the application, approval, and appeals processes will be explained. You will also learn what a Raleigh workers’ compensation attorney will do on your behalf.
What is Workers’ Compensation? How Does It Work?
Workers’ compensation is an insurance program for injured employees. It is established and regulated by the state. Employers purchase and maintain workers’ compensation insurance to cover their employees for work-related illnesses and injuries.
The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act requires all businesses that have three or more employees, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and limited liability companies, to purchase workers’ compensation insurance or to qualify as self-insured employers.
When an employee is injured at the workplace in North Carolina, that employee may file a workers’ compensation claim and receive benefits – medical expenses and partial wage replacement payments – after sustaining an on-the-job injury.
Worker’s compensation protects employers – in most cases – from personal injury lawsuits, and in return, employees do not have to go to court or prove that an employer was negligent in order to collect worker’s comp benefits.
Take These Steps If You Are Injured at Work
If you sustain an injury in an accident at your place of work, obtain medical treatment immediately, report the accident at once to your supervisor or manager, and file a workers’ compensation claim by following your employer’s procedures.
Under North Carolina law, the deadline for reporting an injury to an employer is 30 days, and the deadline for submitting an application for workers’ compensation benefits – NCIC Form 18 – is two years from the date of the injury.
When Should You Contact a Raleigh Attorney?
Don’t wait 30 days or two years. Report your injury immediately to your employer, and file your worker’s comp claim – with the guidance and advice of a Raleigh workers’ compensation lawyer – as soon as possible. When you can’t work, you may need compensation right away.
Your workers’ comp lawyer can make sure that your application for benefits is complete, accurate, and that no misunderstandings or mistakes, at least on your part, could lead to a delay or a rejection of your claim for benefits.
What Happens When You Are Approved for Benefits?
Your employer or the employer’s workers’ comp insurance carrier has 14 days (from the day you report the injury to your employer) to approve or deny your claim. If your claim for worker’s comp benefits is approved, you will receive an NCIC Form 60, the “Employer’s Admission of Employee’s Right to Compensation.”
Upon approval of your claim, workers’ compensation insurance pays for all reasonable medical treatment of your injury or illness, and it compensates you for two-thirds of your average weekly wages for as long as 500 weeks or until the day you can go back to work.
When Will You Receive the First Benefit Check?
Workers’ comp in North Carolina does not pay for the first 7 days an injured employee is away from work unless that employee remains unable to work for at least 21 days. Workers who miss 8 to 21 workdays receive benefits for their days missed after the seven-day waiting period.
An employee who misses more than 21 workdays will receive benefits for all days missed, including the first 7.
So to answer the question we began with – When can you start receiving workers’ comp benefits in North Carolina? – the answer is that your payments should arrive right away after the first 21 days have passed since you notified your employer of your injury.
What If Your Application for Benefits is Rejected?
Even if you properly file your claim and meet the deadlines, questions and complications may emerge. That is why you should have guidance and advice from a North Carolina workers’ comp lawyer as soon as you have been injured and from the start of the workers’ comp process.
If your employer or your employer’s workers’ comp insurance carrier seems to be delaying or mishandling your application for benefits, let your lawyer look into the matter. Do not speak directly to your employer’s worker’s comp insurance company. That is your lawyer’s role.
Your claim for workers’ comp benefits could be denied for a trivial reason that’s easily fixed,. A workers’ comp claim could also be denied for one of these reasons:
- The employer believes you are exaggerating your injury – or that you’re not even injured.
- The employer does not believe the injury is work-related.
- The injury was caused by fighting, intoxication, “horseplay,” or criminal activity.
- You did not seek medical care immediately after the injury occurred.
- You did not immediately notify your employer in writing.
- You were not treated by an approved healthcare provider.
How Are Appeals Handled?
When an application for workers’ compensation benefits is rejected, your workers’ comp attorney can appeal that rejection to a deputy commissioner of the North Carolina Industrial Commission (the agency that oversees workers’ compensation in North Carolina).
Your attorney can offer evidence at an appeal hearing that your work-related injury is preventing you from going back to work. If that appeal fails, a group of commissioners will consider your next appeal. If that also fails, your workers’ compensation lawyer can take your claim to court.
What Else Should You Know About Workers’ Compensation?
If you meet the requirements for workers’ comp benefits, a Raleigh workers’ compensation attorney can prove that you meet those requirements. Take your case to an attorney who can offer the legal help you require to obtain the benefits you are entitled to and deserve.
Reach out to a workers’ comp attorney as soon as you can if you’re injured at work anywhere in this state. Your attorney will help you submit your workers’ compensation claim and advocate on your behalf if your benefits are denied.
If you’re injured at work, don’t go it alone. Obtaining workers’ compensation benefits may not be easy, but a good workers’ comp lawyer will know what it takes to acquire the benefits you need.