We live in a mobile society where people sometimes live in one place and work in another. It’s 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 when 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 you are 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 heard this one.) A skilled and experienced workers’ comp lawyer can help, not only deal with some of these difficulties, but 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 combat 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 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 because you move to Tennessee.
TIP! No matter where you are, the insurance company is responsible for paying 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 can help address any problems you may likely face from an out-of-state move.
2016 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms”
There are 28,000* attorneys licensed to practice in North Carolina. Of course, not all practice workers’ compensation law, but many do. Here are just a handful of very good reasons we believe you should consider the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin to help you with your workers’ comp claim.
Our firm received the highest ranking by the 2016 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” for Workers’ Compensation in the greater Raleigh area.**
Our workers’ comp attorneys include six North Carolina Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialists. One is a former North Carolina state senator and former Deputy Commissioner at the North Carolina Industrial Commission (the workers’ compensation “court”). Others used to work for workers’ compensation defense firms.
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With all these credentials, you may think you can’t afford to hire us. We believe you can. We work on contingency,2 which means you pay no attorney’s fees unless we get compensation for you.
* Figure provided by the N.C. State Bar as of December 31, 2015.
** Visit www.usnews.com for more information about criteria for inclusion.