Workers' Compensation is the area of the law that provides medical treatment and monetary benefits to employees that are injured on the job. There are two types of workers' compensation claims under the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act: Injury By Accident Claims (Workplace Injuries) and Occupational Disease Claims.
An Injury By Accident Claim occurs when there is a specific identifiable accident that occurs while you are at work and performing your job duties. The injury must occur during the course and scope of employment. Additionally, there must be a specific, identifiable event that results in the workplace injury. There is an exception to the identifiable event requirement for back injuries. In most cases, you can be eligible to receive workers' comp benefits even if the on the job injury was your own fault or caused by your own negligence.
An Occupational Disease Claim occurs when a medical condition or disease results from the workplace job conditions. There are a number of specifically identified occupational diseases listed in the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act. There is also a "catch-all" provision which allows for other medical diseases and conditions to qualify as occupational disease workers' comp claims.
THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION PROCESS
A workers' compensation claim begins with the filing a Form 18 with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. The Form 18 must be filed within 30 days of the workplace injury, but there is a second deadline of 2 years from the date of injury. As a result, as long as it has been less than 2 years from the date of injury, you can still file a workers' comp claim.
Following the filing of a Form 18, the employer and their insurance carrier must choose to "accept" the claim as compensable, or "deny" the claim as noncompensable. If the claim is accepted, the employer and insurance carrier accept legal responsibility for your medical treatment, and possible monetary benefits. In accepted cases, you are required to cooperate with the insurance carrier and follow the medical treatment as prescribed by the physicians chosen by the insurance company. In some circumstances, you can request that your medical treatment be changed pursuant to procedures before the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
If the claim is denied, you have the right to direct your own medical treatment and select your own physicians and medical professionals. However, you do not have the right to receive weekly monetary benefits in a denied claim. The employer and insurance carrier will not pay monetary benefits in a denied claim unless the Industrial Commission rules that the claim is compensable, or the claim is resolved with a monetary settlement.
You can request a hearing with the North Carolina Industrial Commission to determine medical treatment issues, compensability of a claim, and payment of appropriate monetary benefits. In most cases, you will be required to participate in mediation before the claim is heard at the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Many cases can be resolved through the mediation process or shortly thereafter.
TYPES OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION BENEFITS
There are several types of benefits that can be awarded under the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act:
- Weekly Monetary Benefits for Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
- Weekly Monetary Benefits for Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
- Weekly Monetary Benefits for Partial Permanent Disability (PPD)
- Medical Treatment Related to the Workers' Compensation Injury
- Monetary Compensation for Specific Impairment To Individual Body Parts
There is no monetary compensation under the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act for pain and suffering, compensatory damages, or punitive damages.
Some claims are settled on a lump sum monetary basis. Other times, workers' comp claims may remain open for long periods of time, during which time you may be receiving benefits if the workers' comp claim has been accepted, or you may not be receiving benefits if the workers' comp claim has been denied.
All individuals with workers' comp claims can benefit from representation from an experienced workers' compensation attorney. Whether your workers' compensation claim has been accepted or denied, an experienced workers' compensation attorney can ensure that your rights are protected under the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act. Levy Law Offices has the experience to represent individuals with worker's comp claims, protect their legal rights, and maximize their workers' compensation benefits that you should receive.
Levy Law Offices represents individuals with workers' compensation claims on a contingency fee basis. The contingency fee is 25% of the recovery or settlement of the workers' comp claim. The North Carolina Industrial Commission reviews the amount of the attorney fee in all workers' compensation cases to make sure that the attorney fee is fair and reasonable.
To schedule an initial consultation, please call Levy Law Offices at (919) 846-0125, or complete the contact form on the right-hand column of the website. Levy Law Offices provides a free initial consultation in workers' compensation cases for individuals.