North Carolina Work Injury Laws
Work injuries can be frustrating and inconvenient for both employers and employees, especially when disagreements can make receiving employee benefits a struggle. As an employee or employer in North Carolina, it is important to know the work injury laws in place that aim to protect the financial security and best interest of both parties. Understanding what to do if you or your employee is injured at work is a great way to avoid legal complications and ease the path to compensation and recovery.
As an employee in North Carolina, you must know what to do after being injured at work, what rights you maintain, and if the injury and employer conduct is grounds to file a lawsuit. If the post-injury processes are not followed as specified in state regulations, the employee may risk losing benefits or employers may risk having to pay extra fees or face lawsuits.
What To Do After A Work Injury In North Carolina
Injuries or illnesses can occur in the workplace for a variety of reasons and can be related to various factors such as the work environment or job duties. After an injury occurs, it must be reported to employers within 30 days of the incident by written notice. If an employee fails to notify their employer within this time, benefits can be denied by the insurance company.
Related: North Carolina Personal Injury FAQs
It is important to take note of all the details surrounding your accident, the injury, and the necessary expenses required for recovery. This information will be needed for your claim with insurance companies to ensure a fair amount of compensation is provided.
Employers are required to file a report of the injury with the Industrial Commission or their insurance providers within five days of receiving an employee’s notice. If an employer fails to file a report or they do not hold any worker’s compensation insurance, employees should file a report with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Employees have two years to file reports with the Industrial Commission against employers that fail to provide worker’s compensation.
North Carolina Work Injury Laws
The Industrial Commission governs North Carolina’s worker’s compensation laws, enforcing regulations that any business which employs more than 3 employees must purchase worker’s compensation insurance.
North Carolina is a no-fault state for worker’s compensation, meaning regardless of who was at fault for the injury, all employers are eligible for worker’s compensation benefits. However, there are a few exceptions to this.
If the injury resulted from:
- An employee’s intoxication from alcohol
- An employee’s Impairment from controlled substances
- Intentional efforts to harm oneself
- A suicide attempt
Employer’s insurance companies will list providers that an employee may seek medical treatment. However, employees hold a right to choose their own medical care provider and request a second opinion if deemed necessary.
Workers’ Compensation and Disability Benefits
Under worker’s compensation and disability benefits, injured employers can be compensated for any injury-related medical bills (including medical prescriptions) and receive disability payments. If an employee needs to travel more than 20 miles for treatment, they are entitled to receive compensation for associated costs (percentage of gas fees, food, and lodging).
Disability benefits are in place to enforce employers to provide partially incapacitated employees with weekly compensation to account for the lost wages that occurred during time off. If the time for recovery needed is longer than 7 days, the employer will be eligible to receive disability payments from that week on for up to 500 weeks with medical proof from a healthcare provider.
If the injuries, impairment, or disability are much more severe and the employee is permanently unable to return to work, there are other permanent disability benefits in place that can provide payment for a longer period of time.
Grounds To File A Lawsuit For North Carolina Work Injuries
Ensuring your employer adheres to all state law laws and regulations related to work injuries is crucial. With worker’s compensation coverage, employers are protected from being sued by employees that will receive benefits. Employees that are covered by worker’s compensation are not allowed to sue their employers or seek additional compensation for reasons such as ‘pain and suffering.’
However, if an employer fails to maintain worker’s compensation insurance and cannot provide coverage for an injured employee, the employee may proceed with a personal injury claim in civil court.