We receive many calls every year from North Carolinians who lost out on workers’ compensation benefits, simply because they didn’t realize they could apply for them.
It’s a little heartbreaking because those are benefits that could have paid for important medical procedures or helped them pay their rent.
So, if you’ve been hurt at work, how can you know if your employer has workers’ compensation benefits?
Well, of course there are some exceptions, but in short if you meet the following criteria, your employer is probably legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance:
- Your place of employment has three or more employees (or if your work involves radiation)
- You are a “regular employee”
What does a “regular employee” mean in workers’ compensation?
We’re often asked this and it’s an excellent question. The problem is that “regular employee” can be somewhat open to interpretation – especially in positions such as:
- Commission-based employees
- Independent contractors
- Part-time workers
However, all of these positions can qualify for workers’ compensation, depending on the circumstances, which usually includes how much control the employer has over their job.
In fact, the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC – the legal body in charge of enforcing workers’ compensation laws) specifically addresses the problem of businesses trying to skirt around paying workers’ compensation for employees by calling them “independent contractors:”
“An employer is not relieved of its liability under the [Workers’ Compensation] Act by calling its employees ‘independent contractors.’ Even if the employer refers to its workers as independent contractors and issues a Form 1099 for tax purposes, the Industrial Commission may still find that the workers were in fact employees, based upon its analysis of several factors, including but not limited to the degree of control exercised by the employer over the details of the work.”
So if your boss tells you what to do, how to do it, when to do it and where to do it, you’re probably an employee.
Who are the exceptions in workers’ compensation?
Although they’re not excluded from workers’ compensation, the following are the main categories of employment that the rules for workers’ compensation eligibility are a little different. They are:
- Agricultural/Farm workers
- Domestic servants (Nannies, Maids, etc.)
- Government employees
- Railroad employees
If you’ve been hurt while working and fall into one of these categories, we highly recommend that you contact a workers’ compensation lawyer in NC.
Fight for all the workers’ comp benefits you may need
Workers’ compensation laws in North Carolina are complicated. And even if you receive some benefits, it might not be everything you’re entitled to.
In our experience, insurance companies may be accommodating up front, but as your claim drags on, they may be more likely to deny treatments you may need or try to send you back to a job that’s not comparable to the one you had before.
NC Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, we’ve put together a workers’ compensation team that we’re proud of.
From a former NC state senator, to former NCIC members, to Board Certified Specialists in NC Workers’ Compensation Law to former defense attorneys for insurance companies – we’ve put together a well-rounded team to serve our clients.*
*please note some attorneys may hold multiple designations