How Does the Workers’ Compensation Claims Process Work in North Carolina?

An on-the-job injury can be upsetting in numerous ways. You have to be able to count on your coworkers to react promptly to your injury. They need to recognize the urgency of obtaining medical care. There is also the fear of losing time at work or even getting fired. Many people injured at work do not report their accidents because they fear it will result in firing. The Winston Salem workers’ compensation lawyers at The McIver Law Firm have some information about the workers’ compensation claims process that they want to share with you.

What to do when the Accident Occurs

If you experience an injury while working for someone else, there are several things you need to do.

  • Report the accident to your employer. Have a coworker or family member report the injury to your employer if you cannot. You have 30 days to report the accident, but delayed reporting will delay the benefit payment. Please ensure that you fill out the NC Industrial Commission Form 18 in its entirety.
  • Note the conditions that led to your accident. Was the floor wet? Were you instructed to carry too much weight? Could your task be considered dangerous? If possible, take photos of any safety violations that you see.
  • Assess your injury. Be realistic. If you need treatment, be sure that you get it. Your employer will tell you what provider to see. Not seeking needed treatment can work against you in the long run.

Your employer should not get angry with you for having an accident. North Carolina law requires employers with three or more employees to maintain workman’s compensation coverage. The payment for the medical services will come from the workers’ compensation carrier, not the employer. The employer cannot terminate you for having an injury or filing a claim. Workers’ comp is also responsible for loss of income and long and short-term disability coverages.

What to do as Your Injury Heals

Compensation levels are based on a 4 tiered schedule determined by the severity of the injuries suffered. For minor injuries that need little time to heal, you may receive permission from the physician to return to work at a position more suitable to your post-injury condition. If your employer has a light-duty job available, you can return to work and collect Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (TPD). The TPD payment is 2/3rds of the difference between the wages earned in this position and your previous wage. There is a seven-day waiting period.

If your injury is minor, requiring you to miss more than seven days of work, you will receive payment for the days you were not at work under the Temporary Total Disability Benefit (TTD). If you are out of work over 21 days, TTD also pays for the first seven days. The daily payment from the Workman’s Compensation carrier is approximately 66% of your regular wage. That is a set percentage for all on-the-job injuries; your case does not determine the amount. A physician will give you a return to work date.

A medical expert may determine your injury is rated moderate to severe and put you out of work for an extended period. You will have numerous physician visits, possible physical or occupational therapy, or even surgery. If you are out of work for over 60 days, Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) will begin. PPD benefits are payable at 50% of the employee’s base monthly salary, plus an applicable longevity percentage for long-term employees. The maximum benefit is $3,000 per month in NC.

Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits begin to pay after you are continuously disabled for 60 days. Deductible income, such as Social Security or worker’s compensation will be deducted from the monthly benefit. The plan will replace 66 2/3% of your eligible earnings, up to a maximum benefit of $12,500 per month.

Once the injured worker has reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), the workman’s compensation carrier will sometimes offer a settlement proposal. The options need to be carefully considered. Our workers’ compensation attorney, Roderick T. McIver is here in Winston-Salem NC, to help you get the settlement you are due.

Things to Know About the Workers’ Compensation Claims Process

Always report on-the-job injuries, no matter how minor. You never know what other problems can develop from that accident. It reflects poorly on you and your employer if you do not report it and need treatment later. The employer cannot fire you for having or reporting an accident. If that happens to you, consult a lawyer immediately.

Get treatment if there is any need. Do not wait to see if it gets better later. It is best to have an exam with the company doctor and have your condition on file. Be sure that you keep all physician appointments and go to any physical or occupational therapy appointments. You must attend all appointments to show your concern for the severity of the injury. If you go to court, the workman’s compensation carrier attorneys will make a point of the fact that you are not keeping your appointments. They will imply that it is not bad enough for you to care about, so it is not bad enough for a large settlement.

Contact McIver Law Firm to Get the Best Winston Salem Workers’ Comp Attorney In Your Corner

If you or your loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury, a wrongful death, or if your injuries are severe, and your time out of work extends over a few months, you should retain counsel. Workers’ compensation laws can get very complicated, and you may not get your full benefit without the legal assistance of a skilled workers’ comp attorney.

There are as many on-the-job injuries as there are jobs. An injury can be a simple scrape from a nail to a catastrophic head injury after a fall from high. Every worker needs to be sure they follow all the safety features available. Work with someone else present, if possible, so they can help you if needed. Or at least they will be there to get help in an emergency. Some professions are obviously more dangerous than others, but every industry has dangers. If you have any concerns about an on-the-job injury, contact McIver Law Firm or call 336-727-9886 for your free case review.

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