North Carolina Injured Workers: What to Do, Who to Tell

Our Statesville workers’ compensation lawyers thought state employees might want to know what happens if they suffer an accidental injury or contract an occupational disease according to the State Government Workers’ Compensation Program.

Cases of workers’ compensation in North Carolina can be difficult to navigate, which is why consulting with an experienced law firm is critical. Don’t try to handle these types of cases alone.
Who’s covered?
Under the State Government Workers’ Compensation Program, all full-time, part-time and temporary North Carolina state government employees are covered. This includes all university and agency employees and officers, all state elected officials, all General Assembly members or those appointed by the Governor.

What’s covered?
Under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, a covered workers’ compensation injury is one that was caused by an accident or incident which happened out of and in the course of your job. The Workers’ Compensation Act doesn’t give payment for all injuries, but for injuries by accident.

An accident is defined as a prior event causing the injury. If there is no accident and injury occurring while performing a task in the usual manner is not compensable. The “by accident” has two exceptions according to the law.

If a back injury or hernia happens as a result of a specific traumatic incident while at work they are compensable in the absence of an accident previous to the injury. Under the Act, certain occupational diseases are compensable.

A disease that is proven to be due to conditions and causes which are part of a particular employment or occupation and the exposure is more than that of the common public outside of the job. Occupational diseases of this nature are usually caused by a chain of events of similar nature, happening regularly or at frequent periods over a course of time in the employment. All everyday diseases of life to which the common public is equally exposed are not compensable.

What the employee must do
Injured workers have the responsibility for claiming compensation. They must immediately tell their employer about the accident as soon as possible after it happens; notification must be made within 30 days or their employer may refuse compensation.

Regarding occupational disease, an employee must let their employer know when they are first informed by a competent medical professional about the nature and work-related cause of the illness. North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) must receive a claim filed by either the employee or the employer within two years from the date or knowledge of the accident or illness or the claim is excluded by law.

What the employer must do
The primary responsibility of the employer when a worker is injured is to plan for and provide any necessary treatment for the work-related injury. A Third Party Administrator (TPA) is responsible for monitoring and processing the claims and is accountable for denying or accepting liability for the State. In accordance with the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act the TPA is responsible to pay medical benefits and compensation. The goal for everyone is to get the worker healthy again so they can return to work as soon as possible.

Medical Benefits
If you have a compensable injury, your employer will pay for your medical treatment. Your employer will give you a medical treatment authorization form to give to your doctor. If no form is provided then all bills must be sent to your employer. The State Government Workers’ Compensation Program provides for vocational rehabilitation in cases where your disability requires training to help get you a job that matches your performance capabilities.

Closing of Claims
Claims are usually closed when the worker achieves maximum medical improvement and goes back to work without restrictions. Claims that have only medical benefits are closed after the last medical bill is paid and claims that have compensation are closed when the last compensation payment is paid.

If you are dealing with a work accident in North Carolina or a workers’ compensation claim contact the Lee Law Offices, P.A. today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-887-1965.

More Blog Entries:

Seek Lawyer Assistance When Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in North Carolina, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog, May 27, 2011

Safe Work Environments can Reduce Risk of North Carolina Work Injuries, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog, June 17, 2011

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