Workers' Compensation FAQs
Workers' Compensation Frequently Asked Questions
- What does it mean when an attorney is a "North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Workers' Compensation"?
- If I file for Workers' Compensation, who will be in charge of my medical care?
- What kinds of employers are covered by Workers' Compensation law?
- What is the role of the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) in a Workers' Compensation case?
- Under what circumstances is a person eligible for Workers' Compensation in North Carolina?
- What is the first step an injured worker should take when injured on the job?
- How will I know if my employer has accepted my claim?
- What kinds of monetary benefits are available to injured workers?
What does it mean when an attorney is a "North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Workers' Compensation"?
The North Carolina Board of Legal Specialization of the North Carolina State Bar started certifying lawyers as Board Certified Specialists in 1987. These individuals are recognized by the North Carolina State Bar as having special knowledge and proficiency in various areas of law including Workers' Compensation. North Carolina is one of only 18 states to offer a legal certification program.
At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, we have several North Carolina Board Certified Specialists in Workers' Compensation Law.
The laws governing Workers' Compensation are complex, therefore it may be beneficial to speak with a board certified specialist.
If I file for Workers' Compensation, who will be in charge of my medical care?
The employer's insurance carrier has the right to direct your medical care. This means that the insurance company can send you to a doctor and/or facility of their choice for your medical treatment. However, the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) can approve your request to change direction, or seek treatment from a provider of your choice. A North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Workers' Compensation Law can help you understand your options and assist in this process.
What kinds of employers are covered by Workers' Compensation law?
North Carolina Workers' Compensation laws apply to any employer with three or more employees, subject to limited exceptions.
What is the role of the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) in a Workers' Compensation case?
The North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) was created by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1929 to administer and enforce the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act. In 1949, its authority was expanded to also administer the Tort Claims Act (claims against the State for civil wrongdoing). Two of our staff members — Doug Berger and Matthew Harbin — served as a Deputy Commissioner and Special Deputy Commissioner, respectively, with the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC). All of our attorneys have appeared before the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) in various cases.
Under what circumstances is a person eligible for Workers' Compensation in North Carolina?
There are three basic circumstances in which a person can become eligible for North Carolina Workers' Compensation:
- Injury By Accident: The interruption of the regular work routine due to an unusual circumstance. Examples include an employee working in a warehouse and a forklift drives over his foot, or an employee working in construction who falls from a ladder.
- Specific Traumatic Injury: An exception to the doctrine of injury by accident in which a person can get compensation for performing a normal task, but sustains a neck or back injury in a specific incident that may not be an accident.
- Occupational Disease: A disease to which the employment was a significant factor in the disease's development and the employment exposed the worker to a greater risk of contracting the disease than the public generally. Examples include a manufacturing worker who develops cancer from exposure to toxins in the workplace (e.g. mesothelioma resulting from asbestos exposure).
What is the first step an injured worker should take when injured on the job?
In North Carolina, an injured worker should notify his or her employer (supervisor, foreman, manager, boss) of the injury in writing. An injured worker should also complete a Form 18 — Notice of Accident to Employer and Claim of Employee, Representative or Dependent for NC Workers' Compensation Benefits. The employee should file the form with the North Carolina Industrial Commission and provide a copy to his employer and/or its insurance carrier, as well as keep a copy for his records. The Form 18 should be filed by the injured worker within 30 days, and must be filed within two years of the injury.
How will I know if my employer has accepted my claim?
An injured worker is entitled to a detailed statement from the employer or insurance carrier stating whether the claim has been accepted, or grounds for denying the claim, within 14 days of receipt of the claim unless time is extended by the North Carolina Industrial Commission's (NCIC) Executive Secretary's Office. If a claim is denied, the employee should receive a copy of Form 61 — Denial of NC Workers' Compensation Claims from his or her employer, outlying the reasons for the denial. Otherwise, the employee should receive a Form 60 — Employer' Admission of Employee's Right to Compensation, or a Form 63 — Notice To Employee of Payment without Prejudice.
A Form 63 is a conditional acceptance, which the insurance carrier can later reverse within certain time limitations. Anyone holding a Form 63 is at risk of having needed benefits denied and should speak with an experienced North Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyer without delay.
What kinds of monetary benefits are available to injured workers?
Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits may be payable when employees becomes totally disabled (unable to work in any capacity) as a result of workplace activities, and the disability is not expected to be permanent.
After a seven day waiting period, employees are entitled to obtain weekly benefits equal to two-thirds (2/3) of their average weekly wage up to the maximum compensation rate set by the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC). If the disability continues for more than 21 days, the employee is entitled to receive these Workers' Compensation benefits for the first seven days as well.
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) is a form of Workers' Compensation benefits that employees may be entitled to receive after they have returned to work, but are earning less than they were prior to the injury because they are working fewer hours or earning less per hour than before their injury.
Employees are entitled to compensation equal to two-thirds (2/3) of the difference between the post-injury and pre-injury weekly wages for a maximum period of 500 weeks.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Workers' Compensation benefits are those which employees may be entitled to if they have sustained a permanent disability to certain body parts (e.g., arms, legs, back, hands). Benefits for less than the total loss of a body part are calculated by the treating physician on a percentage basis. This calculation is referred to as a "PPD rating."
Employees are entitled to compensation equal to two-thirds (2/3) of their average weekly wage for a period calculated by the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) for each body part and percentage of disability (PPD rating). As an example, if a worker loses complete use of a leg, that worker can receive benefits up to 200 weeks. If the worker loses 5% of the use of a leg, the worker is entitled to 10 weeks of disability benefits.
Total and Permanent Disability benefits may be potentially paid to the employee for a lifetime when the employee's injury renders him or her unable to return to any form of suitable employment.
In such a case, a worker may be able to receive weekly benefits and medical compensation for the remainder of his or her lifetime.
About the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin
The experienced Workers' Compensation Department at James Scott Farrin has helped thousands of North Carolinians with their Workers' Compensation claims over the years.
Several of our attorneys are Board Certified Specialists in Workers' Compensation law by the North Carolina State Bar.
Several of our Workers' Compensation attorneys have worked as defense lawyers for the insurance industry. These attorneys have seen Workers' Compensation cases from both sides.
Several of our Workers' Compensation attorneys have more than 10 years of Workers' Compensation and/or civil litigation experience. Numerous members of our staff are bilingual, speaking English.