In the case of a job-related injury, you must immediately report your injury to your employer or their Worker’s Compensation representative (usually the Human Resources Department). The report should be orally as well as in writing. In the case of an after-the-accident hospitalization or incapacitation, the incident must be reported within 30 days.
In the case of my injury, who provides and directs my medical treatment?
Your employer’s represented insurance company will be responsible for ordering, providing and directing medical treatment. In certain cases, the employee may petition the NC Worker’s Compensation Commission (NCW Commission) to change physicians if there are grounds and a good cause. It should be noted that payments to any changed physician is not guaranteed unless written permission has been previously granted.
If I am to be out of work long-term, how will I be compensated?
After a specific waiting period, payments will be made on a weekly basis (and in some cases a monthly basis). The amount an injured worker may receive will not exceed $978.00 per week (generally 66 2/3% of the worker’s average weekly wage). It should also be noted that the amounts may change as per the NCWC Commission. Furthermore, an employee is eligible for receive lost-time benefits until they are able to return to work.
What will happen my claim is denied?
Under North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act, Section 97-18(c), you must be notified by mail within 14 days of your injury being reported. Furthermore, you may be notified if there are any claim discrepancies or if any if further information may be needed. If you receive notification that your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, you will receive a denial notice. Within the notice will be the name of your employer’s insurer, and the specific reason(s) why your claim was denied. At that time, you can appeal the NCW Commission’s denial decision. (within fourteen days). Next, you will be scheduled for a mediation conference. The conference will include yourself, your legal representative, and your employer’s insurance representative and a mediator (who will decide based on the evidence presented). You may request a hearing before an administrative judge if you disagree with the mediator’s decision.
Will I need legal representation? How do I choose the right lawyer?
As with any type of injury, it is always advised to seek legal representation. The North Carolina State Bar certifies “Worker’s Compensation Specialist” lawyers who must complete several requirements which include training, experience in worker’s compensation laws, as well as a comprehensive exam which details the requirements of North Carolina’s Compensation laws. Once the attorney has completed these requirements then they will be considered a Board-Certified Specialist in NC Compensation law. Presently, there are only 150 attorneys who possess this certification in the state of North Carolina. When choosing an attorney, it is important that you consider hiring one of these certified specialists.
As these are just five important facts regarding worker’s compensation there is so much more an employee should know in the case of an on-the-job injury. If you are injured, or just want to learn more about Worker’s Compensation laws and requirements visit http://www.lawyernc.com/legal-services/workers-compensation-lawyer.