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What Benefits Can I Receive Under Workers’ Compensation in NC?

If you’re asking this question, it sounds like maybe you were hurt at work, but you’re not sure if workers’ compensation benefits are worth the risk – or if you even qualify. Maybe…

  • You’re afraid of losing your job.
  • You’re just not sure it’s all worth the headache.
  • You need more benefits to get by after your injury because what you’re currently getting just isn’t paying all the bills.

Please don’t let concerns like these get in the way of you trying to get benefits that may significantly improve your financial situation!

NC workers’ compensation laws were written to help alleviate some of the financial burdens for injured workers (like yourself).

And a NC workers’ compensation lawyer may be able to help you protect your job and take much of that “headache” away – they will also help to try to make sure you receive all the benefits you may need.

Woman rest face on hand while filling out workers' compensation info on her laptopWorkers’ Compensation in NC

North Carolina workers’ compensation law, known as the “Workers’ Compensation Act” allows for benefits in two major categories: medical benefits and lost wages.

We’ll explore each of those briefly:

Workers’ comp for medical benefits

If you’re injured at work and you’re awarded a workers’ compensation claim, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance should:

  • Take care of all of your necessary medical bills for doctor’s visits, diagnostics, prescriptions, surgeries, and other needed treatments.
  • Pay for an attendant if you need at-home care (or reimburse a family member if they are caring for you).
  • Reimburse you for traveling to medical appointments if you had to travel more than 20 miles roundtrip.

In the event that your injuries result in permanent damage, you may be eligible for medical equipment that will make your disabilities more manageable (which could include vehicle and home modifications) and disfigurement for any scarring that’s not covered under your Permanent Partial Disability benefits.

Which leads us into the next category…

Workers’ comp for lost wages

Lost wages claims are what they sound like – reimbursement for wages that you’ve lost (or will lose) as a result of your injury. Typically wage-replacement benefits are two-thirds of what you would have earned if you had been working.

This can include reimbursing you for:

  • Time you had to take off work to heal (on a full or part-time basis).
  • Time you had to take off work to go to the doctor or other medical appointments.

But it can also include what’s often known as “earning potential,” which is your injuries’ effect on your ability to work in the future.

Earning potential claims in NC

For example, if you work in manufacturing and your arm gets caught in a machine and is permanently damaged, depending on the severity of your injury, you could receive:

Earning potential claims are almost always calculated after you have reached “Maximum Medical Improvement” or “MMI” – meaning you have recovered as much as medically possible.

Waiting for MMI makes your claim easier to calculate, but it could leave you waiting a long time to be compensated for your claim.

A NC workers’ compensation lawyer can’t help you heal faster, but he/she may be able to push adjusters to resolve your claim quicker once you have reached MMI and help you set up medical liens in the meantime to try to help lessen your financial burdens.

Other workers’ comp benefits

Although medical and wages lost benefits are the two major categories of workers’ compensation benefits, depending on your circumstances you may also be eligible for:

  • Vocational rehabilitation, such as resume help, job placement services, and educational assistance, if switching careers is necessary.
  • Death benefits – although there’s no substitute for a loved one that’s lost. If your spouse or parent (if you’re a minor) died while working, you may be eligible for wages-lost benefits as well as funeral expenses.

You will typically receive most workers’ compensation benefits in the form of weekly checks or a lump settlement.

Need to apply for Workers’ Compensation in NC?

We would be honored to help. We’ve dedicated ourselves to helping injured workers fight for the benefits they need.

If you want to know which benefits you might be eligible for, or if you are getting all the benefits to which you may be entitled, call us for a free case evaluation on our North Carolina workers’ comp 24/7 hotline – 1-866-900-7078.

Should I Report My Work Injury? New Studies Reveal Why Many Work Accidents Go Unreported

An unreported work accident is a big deal in North Carolina.

If you’re hurt on the job, and you fail to report the injury, your opportunity for a workers’ compensation claim may be diminished or denied, meaning you could lose out on valuable medical help or compensation for lost work time.

Reporting work injuries may help employers as well, especially if the incident is reported in a timely manner. A report of an injury can allow an employer to investigate the cause of the accident and correct safety problems before being cited for an OSHA violation and/or before a coworker is hurt more seriously or even killed.

Warehouse worker injured leg at workplace Alerting an employer to an injury can also allow a worker to seek treatment before the injury becomes worse, leading to more missed work-time, bigger medical bills and otherwise higher workers’ compensation costs.

Although it can benefit everyone for a worker to let an employer know if something is wrong, any workers’ comp lawyer in North Carolina knows that many injuries go unreported. New studies have shed more light on why many employees aren’t speaking up and what employers can do about it.

Employees Not Reporting Work Injuries

Safety and Health Magazine summarized two recent studies explaining why workers are failing to report safety violations or on-the-job injuries.

In one study, young workers said they weren’t reporting injuries or safety risks on the job because they felt powerless to affect change. They did not believe their report would be considered credible because of their age and lack of experience. Many of these young workers indicated they’d adopt a wait-and-see approach and hope that other workers had identified the same safety hazards so everyone could speak out together.

In the other study, 135 workers were surveyed by the Center for Construction Research and Technology. 27% of the surveyed workers indicated they’d failed to report an injury that happened at work. The most common reason the injury wasn’t reported was because they considered the injury too small or minor to alert their employer. A full 72% of those who didn’t report the injury gave this “too-small” excuse.

While work injuries may start out small, in our experience they often have the potential to become more serious, chronic conditions if left untreated. When treatment is finally sought out, it may be denied under workers’ compensation because the initial injuries weren’t reported.

Workers also indicated that they did not report injuries on the job at construction sites because they accepted that pain was part of working in the field; because they were worried they’d miss work time and pay if they had to see a doctor; because they feared that safety incentives would be lost; or because they feared they would not be hired again in the future if they were seen as complainers.

Workers’ compensation can cover time missed from work and a NC workers compensation lawyer may be able to help you protect your job. Be safe – report every injury.

What employers can do to encourage workers to report injuries:

With a myriad of reasons why workers don’t report injuries, employers may be unclear on the steps they should take to encourage employees to alert them if someone gets hurt or if a safety violation is identified.

However, a study from the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics provides some answers.

The study shows that having an approachable supervisor who encourages regular open communication, even if not related to safety, is the key to getting employees to report accidents and injuries. Employers, therefore, should emphasize to all in supervisory positions how important it is to help workers come forward to make the workplace safer for everyone.

NC Workers Compensation Lawyers

If you’ve been hurt at work, workers’ compensation benefits can help you pay for your medical bills and time out of work. Don’t let your injury go unreported.

A workers comp lawyer in North Carolina may be able to help if you are injured on the job. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.