Workplace injuries or illness often result in lost wages, mounting medical bills, and anxiety for you and your family.
In North Carolina, suffering an injury on the job may entitle you to benefits and a portion of your wages through a workers’ compensation claim.
However, North Carolina workers’ compensation law requires you to file your workers’ compensation claim to receive benefits.
More importantly, you must understand the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation in NC to avoid the dismissal of your claim.
Consult with a qualified North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney to represent you through every step of your claim and ensure you receive the just compensation you deserve.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation insurance helps protect employees from financial loss when they are hurt on the job or get sick due to a work-related issue.
The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act provides that all businesses employing over three employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance.
Workers’ compensation provides benefits to workers injured on the job and includes the following types of benefits:
- A portion of lost wages,
- Medical treatment, and
- Death benefits.
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine whether you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Learn more about when you should hire a workers’ comp lawyer.
It’s important to note that North Carolina law provides special exemptions of coverage under the Act.
These include the following types of employees:
- Employees not in the course of the trade, business, or profession of the employer,
- Employees of certain railroad companies,
- Household employees,
- Farm laborers working for someone with less than ten full-time laborers, and
- Federal employees.
Employees are not responsible for paying workers’ compensation benefits. Additionally, employers may not escape the requirement of workers’ compensation by merely referring to workers as independent contractors.
It’s essential to file any claims for workers’ compensation within the statute of limitations to avoid your claim’s dismissal.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on My Workers’ Compensation Claim?
In North Carolina, the statute of limitations on workers’ compensation claims is two years. This means that you must pursue a claim for workers’ compensation within two years of your injury.
However, North Carolina law also requires that you first provide notice of your injuries or illness to your employees within 30 days of the injury. You must file your workers’ compensation claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
Many employees fail to file their claim within the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation or make other mistakes in pursuing their claim, such as:
- Failing to report the injury in writing first to their employer;
- Waiting to see a doctor and not getting a medical evaluation of their injury or illness; or
- Failing to adequately document the injury or illness.
Many injured workers hesitate to file their claims if they plan to work for the same employer. However, your employer may not terminate your employment or take adverse action against you based on your filing a workers’ compensation claim.
The Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA) protects individuals who engage in protected activities under the Act, such as filing a workers’ compensation claim.
However, an employer may terminate you if your injury renders you unable to work. Despite your termination, as long as you file your claim within the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation, you will continue to receive workers’ compensation until you can work.
A workers’ compensation attorney can assist injured workers in filing their claims.
Your attorney should possess an understanding of workers’ compensation laws in North Carolina. Studies have shown that individuals often experience greater success when they retain an attorney to assist in claims against insurance companies.
When it comes to catastrophic costs due to lost wages and ongoing medical injuries, a workers’ compensation attorney works to pursue every type of benefit owed to you under your workers’ compensation claim.
What Is Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Not all workers’ compensation injuries involve physical injury. Workers’ compensation coverage may also include mental illness and occupational diseases.
Workers’ compensation coverage may provide benefits for the following:
- Injuries suffered due to an accident while on the job;
- Illness caused by exposure to toxic substances at work;
- Repetitive stress injuries that get worse over time due to your work; and
- Death resulting from such an illness or injury.
Once you receive workers’ compensation benefits, you may not seek recovery from your employer through a separate personal injury lawsuit.
In situations where your workers’ compensation coverage fails to adequately pay for all the expenses you incur due to your injury, there may be situations where you may pursue a lawsuit against a third party.
A possible third party may include manufacturers of equipment directly related to your injury or another business associated with your employment. Consult with a qualified attorney to determine what options are available to you in pursuing additional compensation for your injuries.
Who Can File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
When a North Carolina employee is injured on the job or develops an occupational illness, they are generally eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
The two-year statute of limitations for workers’ comp claims begins from the initial date of accident or, in the case of occupational diseases, when a qualified medical expert diagnoses the employee and relates the disease or condition to their occupation.
How to File a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claim
The first step in the workers’ compensation claim process is to notify your employer of the injury. It is important to do this within 30 days of the injury. Notification should be provided via written notice, but can be verbal if giving written notice is not feasible.
As an employee, you should then file a Form 18 Notice of Accident to Employer and Claim of Employee with the North Carolina Industrial Commission, which serves as an official claim filing. As noted above, an injured employee has two years to submit this form.
The board-certified attorneys at Mehta McConnell Law will assist you at every stage of filing your workers’ compensation claim. We understand the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims and evaluate your case to determine your time frame for filing.
It’s essential to speak with an attorney soon after you suffer an injury or illness at work. We work on a contingency fee basis, so we don’t get paid unless you do.
Complexity and delays may accompany the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim. The attorneys at Mehta McConnell Law work to pursue every benefit owed to you for your workers’ compensation claim.
Our attorneys are available to review your case during an initial, no-fee consultation. We understand how hard it can be to suffer an injury and not be able to work.