When you’re injured on the job in North Carolina, it’s enough to deal with just trying to recover. Let alone, trying to put food on the table and pay the light bill while you’re not able to work.
In order to try to help make those payments and to propel your worker’s comp claim from one step to the next, the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) will play a key role in your claims process. It is the state agency responsible for ensuring that you, your employer, and its insurance company are all playing by the rules and treating each other fair and square.
We know these rules from first-hand experience. Two of our workers’ compensation lawyers, Doug Berger and Matthew Harbin were formerly NCIC commissioners presiding over workers’ comp hearings. As a former four-term N.C. state senator, Mr. Berger helped write some of our workers’ compensation laws.
As with many large bureaucratic agencies, you will be required to fill out a number of forms during the course of your claim. Strict deadlines apply. If your forms are late, you can lose your claim rights.
People can often be confused and intimidated as to which forms to fill out and why. We get it. We fill them out all day every day. That’s one of the conveniences of having a workers’ compensation lawyer handle your case.
If you do not have a workers’ comp lawyer working on your behalf, and you’ve decided to try to tackle your claim on your own, we have compiled a list of some of the more common forms the North Carolina Industrial Commission requires.
NCIC Workers’ Compensation Forms: File Immediately After a Work Injury
Your report of the injury. A Form 18 should be filed with the NCIC as soon as possible, but no later than two years from your date of injury. You should notify your employer immediately after you are injured, or as soon as is practical, and within 30 days of your injury. This form lets the NCIC and your employer know that you are requesting to be compensated for your injuries. If you do not file within the 30-day deadline (which begins the day you were injured), your claim may be dismissed after a period of time.
Your employer’s report of the injury. Form 19 must be filed within five days of the employer’s knowledge that you were injured. Do not assume your employer will file this claim or file it within the deadline. We have seen employees’ claims get bogged down right from the start because this form was not filed or not filed on time. If you are able, we suggest you follow up, as there is no penalty to the employer if they do not file.
File to Determine Benefits Status and Amount
If your employer accepts the claim, they need to file a Form 60 admitting responsibility and agreeing to pay full workers’ comp benefits (wage loss benefits and medical treatment).
If your employer denies responsibility for your injury, they need to file a Form 61 stating the reasons why they are denying responsibility.
Your employer or insurance carrier should file a Form 62 to make modifications to your weekly benefit amounts and the reasons for doing so.
A Form 63 allows your workers’ comp insurance carrier to pay some of your medical bills, while they investigate your claim. However it does not obligate them to accept responsibility for your injury or to pay wage loss benefits.
File for Mileage Reimbursement
The insurance company may not always mention this mileage benefit to you. You should be aware that you are allowed reimbursement for mileage to medical appointments when you have to drive more than 20 miles round trip.
Returning to Work
Be vigilant when signing Form 26A. This form is typically used when you are able to continue working for your employer in your pre-injury job after your medical treatment has concluded. The insurance company fills out Form 26A utilizing the information from your doctor’s assigned permanent partial impairment rating. You will receive a lump sum based on a statutory formula, which is based on your weekly compensation rate and the part of your body that was injured. We have handled thousands of workers’ comp settlements. We can tell you from experience that it is prudent to have a worker’s comp lawyer on your side when finalizing your settlement amount.
We guarantee you the insurance company has their own lawyers to call on when determining your settlement amount.
Request an NCIC Hearing
If you believe you require a hearing before the North Carolina Industrial Commission, you can file Form 33 to request one. Be forewarned. Your employer and the insurance company will almost certainly be represented by attorneys who will fight for their rights which could include not paying you benefits.
We do not recommend you go through an NCIC hearing without your own workers’ comp attorney to help try to even the battlefield on your behalf.
You Can Afford a James Scott Farrin Workers’ Comp Lawyer
Many of our clients come to us after trying to negotiate the workers’ comp bureaucracy with its many forms, deadlines, and confusing and seemingly conflicting information on their own. While we have helped many who threw in the towel mid-process, we suggest injured workers come to us right after their injury. You can see why. The NCIC clock starts ticking on Day 1 of your injury.
Our contingency fee is the same whether you hire us from the beginning, middle, or toward the end.2 So you might as well take full advantage and hire us from the start. If we take your case, you don’t pay an attorney’s fee unless we recover compensation for you. And you only pay a percentage of the money you potentially recover.
If we don’t recover for you, we won’t charge you an attorney’s fee.
NC Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Offer Free Evaluation
Of the more than 28,000 attorneys who are licensed in North Carolina, only 140 are N.C. Board Certified in workers’ compensation law.3 Several of our workers’ comp attorneys are NC Board Certified Specialists in Workers’ Compensation law.
If you have been injured on the job, take full advantage of the experience we have to offer. Don’t wait. Contact us right after your injury for a free case evaluation. As you can see, the forms alone are a lot to deal with, and we’d love to help you fight for the compensation you potentially deserve.
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3Figures provided by the N.C. State Bar as of December, 2016.