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Do You Have Questions About North Carolina Workers’ Compensation?

Nov 4, 2016 - Workers' Compensation by

workers' comp lawyer in Charlotte

Here at Brown, Moore & Associates, PLLC, we get a lot of questions concerning the laws, guidelines, and specifics of workers’ compensation coverage in North Carolina. If you have questions, we have answers. In this post, you’ll find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions that we hear. To learn more, contact us for a free consultation.

Is My Employer Legally Required to Carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

The answer to this question depends on the number of individuals employed by the company that you work for and whether or not these workers are classified as employees. If there are only one or two employees, then the employer does not have to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If you are an independent contractor, rather than an employee, then your employer does not have to cover you with workers’ compensation. In some cases, employers will intentionally mis-classify workers as independent contractors to avoid having to cover them with workers’ comp insurance. You can dispute your classification with the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC), and they will investigate your relationship with the employer. In most cases, if there are three or more employees working for the company, then the employer must carry workers’ compensation insurance.

How Do I Know If I Have a Valid Workers’ Compensation Claim?

There are some situations where you might not have a valid workers’ compensation claim, and things can get confusing when the injury occurs at work, but may not be within the course and scope of employment. If there is any question as to whether or not your injury occurred within the course and scope of employment, then you should seek a free legal consultation to discuss the specifics of your injury and workers’ comp claim with Brown, Moore & Associates, PLLC. Additionally, not all work-related injuries are automatically compensable as workers’ compensation claims. With the exception of back injuries, a workplace injury must occur as a result of an “accident,” which is a deviation from the normal work routine. This requirement of an “accident” does not apply to back injuries, and all that must be shown for a back injury to be covered by workers’ compensation is the occurrence of a specific traumatic incident. Again, if you have questions, you should seek a consultation with our attorneys at Brown Moore & Associates, PLLC.

Will My Employer File My Claim or Should I?

Your employer may assist you with filing your workers’ compensation claim, but you should not count on them to do so. Rather, you would be wise to file a Form 18 with the NCIC and give your employer a copy of this form. You should also give your employer written notification of the injury with a description of how the injury occurred.

How Much Time Do I Have to File My Workers’ Compensation Claim?

The statute of limitations on North Carolina workers’ compensation claims is two years. This means that you have two years from the date of your injury to file a claim. This can be more flexible in cases where you did not immediately become aware of the injury or in cases where symptoms of an occupational illness were not immediately present. In such cases, you may have two years from the date of discovering the illness or injury. When you have an incident producing injury immediately, you should give notice to your employer of the injury as soon as possible, and in any event within thirty (30) days.

Can I Appeal if My Claim is Denied?

If you file a workers’ compensation claim and that claim is denied, then you do have a right to appeal. You can do so with a Request for Hearing (Form 33) which is to be filed with the NCIC. You can improve your odds for a successful appeal with the help of an attorney.

Can I Choose My Own Doctor?

When you first file a workers’ compensation claim, your employer or the employer’s insurance provider will refer you to an approved physician. You must use this doctor. If you would prefer a different doctor, then you must submit this request to the insurance company or the NCIC.

Will Workers’ Compensation Cover My Mileage for Medical Appointments?

If you have to travel further than 20 miles (round trip) to and from medical appointments, then you may be able to seek compensation for your mileage.

How Long Will it Take to Receive Wage Compensation?

There is a waiting period for wage compensation. You must be out of work for at least seven consecutive days to get this compensation, which will be set at 2/3 of your average weekly wages. If you are out of work for more than 14 days, then the first seven days will also be compensated.

Who Determines My Level of Disability and Work Restrictions?

This issue is typically decided by your treating physician. If there is any disagreement concerning your level of disability and work restrictions, then you can try to seek a second opinion, or alternatively turn to the NCIC to resolve this.

How Long Will I Be Eligible for Disability Benefits?

You can receive disability benefits for up to 500 weeks (or until you are released to return to work or have reached maximum medical improvement). In some cases, you may be eligible for benefits beyond this period depending upon the nature of your injury. If your injury occurred before June 24, 2011, then this limit does not apply.

What If I Don’t See My Question Here?

Here, we have addressed some of the most common questions that we hear from victims of workplace injuries in North Carolina. If you don’t see your question here or if you would like to discuss the details of your own workers’ compensation claim, please contact the skilled North Carolina workers’ compensation claim attorneys at the Brown, Moore & Associates, PLLC for a free consultation.