We live in a mobile society where people sometimes live in one place and work in another. It’s also not uncommon for an individual or family to reside in one city or state for only a short period of time before moving on to another community.
What happens if you live in North Carolina and you get hurt on the job in another state? And what happens if you’re hurt on the job in North Carolina and then move to another state?
The short answer is that you are likely still entitled to benefits in most instances. But we urge anyone in these circumstances to get a lawyer to help them navigate this process. Here’s why.
Hurt on the Job in Another State
If you get hurt on the job while in North Carolina, you have a right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits in North Carolina. If you travel outside the state for work, the protections of the workers’ compensation system generally travel with you.
TIP! Workers who are hurt outside the state can still pursue a North Carolina workers’ compensation claim if their employment contract was made in North Carolina.
Seems simple enough. But it’s not always. Whether your employment contract was made in North Carolina can often be a complex question. And one that’s best addressed by an experienced workers’ comp attorney.
Generally speaking, your employment contract is formed wherever you were hired. This means if you live in North Carolina and are hired by your employer in North Carolina, then you can usually pursue a North Carolina workers’ compensation claim no matter where your injury occurs. So, for example, if you’re hired in North Carolina as a long-haul trucker, and are injured in a work-related accident driving in Virginia, you would generally be able to pursue a North Carolina workers’ compensation claim.
But again, I cannot stress enough that these situations can often be difficult to properly address as there can be many nuances in workers’ compensation law.
Getting NC Workers’ Compensation Benefits and Moving Out of State
Sometimes an injured worker has no choice but to move out of North Carolina for one reason or another.
TIP! The injured worker’s right to wage and medical benefits is not usually affected by relocation to another state.
Still, certain practical difficulties can arise in these situations. For example, the insurance company might argue that they would have had work for you if you hadn’t moved, so they should be able to cut off your checks. (I’ve actually heard this). A skilled and experienced workers’ comp lawyer can help, not only deal with some of these difficulties for you, but to try to help you avoid them in the first place.
Getting Workers’ Comp Wage Benefits Out of State
If you’re hurt on the job and are receiving weekly wage benefit checks, simply moving to another state will not automatically disqualify you from continuing to receive benefits.
However, that has not stopped some workers’ comp insurance companies from trying to use an out-of-state relocation against the injured worker. We’ve seen it happen. It can be a slippery slope, but an experienced attorney can help you to respond to their arguments.
Don’t wait too long before hiring an attorney, though. Time is not on your side in these instances and delay can sometimes hurt your claim.
Getting Workers’ Comp Medical Benefits Out of State
Moving to another state also does not automatically disqualify you from continuing to receive the medical treatment you need to recover from your work injury. After all, if you require certain medical treatment for your injury while you live in North Carolina, nothing about your need for treatment changes simply because you move to Tennessee.
TIP! No matter where you are, the insurance company is generally responsible for continuing to pay for your medical care.
However, as a practical matter, it can sometimes be difficult to find doctors in other states who will agree to treat an out-of-state workers’ comp patient. Again, it’s prudent to contact an experienced workers’ comp attorney who will strive to solve any problems you may face from an out-of-state move.
2022 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” List
There are many good reasons why we believe you should consider the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin to help you with your workers’ comp claim. Here are three:
- Our firm has been recognized by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® as one of the “Best Law Firms” for workers’ compensation for the greater Raleigh area in 2022.3
- There are 30,512 attorneys licensed to practice in North Carolina. Of those, 152 are North Carolina State Bar Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialists.4 Of those 152, several are on our team. One is even a former North Carolina state senator and former Deputy Commissioner at the North Carolina Industrial Commission (the workers’ compensation “court”).
- Many of our attorneys and staff used to work for defense firms. That means we have inside knowledge from “the other side.”
Get NC Workers’ Comp Lawyers Offering a Free Case Evaluation
With all our credentials, you may think you can’t afford to hire us. But you can because you pay nothing up front. We work on contingency, which means you pay no attorney’s fee unless we get compensation for you.2
3Visit www.usnews.com for more information about criteria for inclusion.
4Figures provided by the N.C. State Bar as of February 2021.