North Carolina Workers' Compensation Laws
UPDATED: March 30, 2011
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North Carolina workers' compensation laws govern what happens if an employee is injured or becomes ill because of his job and cannot work. Employers in North Carolina are required to have workers' compensation insurance if they employ three or more workers to ensure that employees who develop workplace injuries or illnesses are taken care of during their recovery period.
Claims under North Carolina Workers' Compensation Laws
In North Carolina, if you are injured in an accident at the work-site, your employer's workers' compensation insurance should cover your claim. Common workplace accidents may include slipping or tripping at work. However, if you were drunk, under the influence of drugs, or acting against your employer's rules at the time of your accident, your injury may not be covered.
If you develop an occupational illness because of unsafe conditions at your workplace or because of repetitive motions performed in your job, your employer's workers' compensation insurance should also cover your disease or illness. In the event that the injured worker dies because of his employment-related illness or injury, his relatives will be paid death benefits to compensate for his loss of earning capacity.
North Carolina Workers' Compensation Benefits
Medical care, reimbursement for mileage, death and funeral benefits, and income replacement benefits are available to workers who have occupational injuries or illnesses. Medical treatment, such as doctor and hospital bills incurred in the treatment of your injury, is paid for by workers' compensation insurance in North Carolina. Your medical provider will be paid directly. Any mileage costs to and from these doctor and hospital appointments will be reimbursed by the employer or the employer's insurance provider. If the worker dies from his work-related injury or illness, his dependent relatives may be paid death benefits to compensate for his lost income, plus an additional $2,000 to help with burial costs.
The most common workers' compensation benefits are income benefits to make up for wages lost while a worker recovers from his injury. The kind of wage replacement benefits you receive will depend on the severity and duration of your injury. If your injury temporarily makes you unable to work, you may receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage during the weeks you are recovering from your injury (known as Temporary Total Disability Benefits). On the other hand, if you are partially able to work while you recover from your work injury, but only at reduced hours or at a reduced wage (Temporary Partial Disability), you will get two-thirds of the difference between your pre- and post-injury earning potential.
If you are permanently disabled and cannot work, you will receive two-thirds of your pre-injury average weekly wage every week (Permanent Total Disability Benefits). Finally, if an employee's injury or illness has reached maximum improvement but will still permanently disable him in some way and prevent him from returning to his original occupation (Permanent Partial Disability Benefits), he will get two-thirds of the difference between his pre- and post-injury wages for up to 300 weeks.
North Carolina Workers' Compensation Statutes
See the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act for the specifics of North Carolina workers' compensation laws.
Employers Subject to Workers' Compensation: Workers' Compensation Act, Chp. 97 § 3; Covered Employees: Workers' Compensation Act, Chp. 97 § 3; Benefits: Workers' Compensation Act, Chp. 97 §§ 20, 27, 29; Claims Procedure: Workers' Compensation Act, Chp. 97 § 22.