If you're asking this question, it sounds like maybe you were hurt at work, but you're not sure if workers' compensation benefits are worth the risk - or if you even qualify. Maybe...
- You're afraid of losing your job.
- You're just not sure it's all worth the headache.
- You need more benefits to get by after your injury because what you're currently getting just isn't paying all the bills.
Please don't let concerns like these get in the way of you trying to get benefits that may significantly improve your financial situation!
NC workers' compensation laws were written to help alleviate some of the financial burden for injured workers (like yourself).
And a NC workers' compensation lawyer may be able to help you protect your job and take much of that "headache" away - they will also help to try to make sure you receive all the benefits you may need.
North Carolina workers' compensation law, known as the "Workers' Compensation Act" allows for benefits in two major categories: medical benefits and lost wages.
We'll explore each of those briefly:
Workers' comp for medical benefits
If you're injured at work and you're awarded a workers' compensation claim, your employer's workers' compensation insurance should:
- Take care of all of your necessary medical bills for doctor's visits, diagnostics, prescriptions, surgeries and other needed treatments.
- Pay for an attendant if you need at-home care (or reimburse a family member if they are caring for you).
- Reimburse you for traveling to medical appointments if you had to travel more than 20 miles roundtrip.
In the event that your injuries result in permanent damage, you may be eligible for medical equipment that will make your disabilities more manageable (which could include vehicle and home modifications) and disfigurement for any scarring that's not covered under your Permanent Partial Disability benefits.
Which leads us into the next category....
Workers' comp for lost wages
Lost wages claims are what they sound like - reimbursement for wages that you've lost (or will lose) as a result of your injury. Typically wage-replacement benefits are two-thirds of what you would have earned if you had been working.
This can include reimbursing you for:
- Time you had to take off work to heal (on a full or part-time basis).
- Time you had to take off work to go to the doctor or other medical appointments.
But it can also include what's often known as "earning potential," which is your injuries' effect on your ability to work in the future.
Earning potential claims in NC
For example, if you work in manufacturing and your arm gets caught in a machine and is permanently damaged, depending on the severity of your injury, you could receive:
- Total and permanent disability, which is when you can no longer work at all.
- Permanent partial disability, which is a system where your level of disability is given a "rating" and you're given benefits based on that.
Earning potential claims are almost always calculated after you have reached "Maximum Medical Improvement" or "MMI" - meaning you have recovered as much as medically possible.
Waiting for MMI makes your claim easier to calculate, but it could leave you waiting a long time to be compensated for your claim.
A NC workers' compensation lawyer can't help you heal faster, but he/she may be able to push adjusters to resolve your claim quicker once you have reached MMI and help you set up medical liens in the meantime to try to help lessen your financial burdens.
Other workers' comp benefits
Although medical and wages lost benefits are the two major categories of workers' compensation benefits, depending on your circumstances you may also be eligible for:
- Vocational rehabilitation, such as resume help, job placement services and educational assistance, if switching careers is necessary.
- Death benefits - although there's no substitute for a loved one that's lost. If your spouse or parent (if you're a minor) died while working, you may be eligible for wages-lost benefits as well as funeral expenses.
You will typically receive most workers compensation benefits in the form of weekly checks or a lump settlement.
Need to apply for Workers' Compensation in NC?
We would be honored to help. We've dedicated ourselves to helping injured workers fight for the benefits they need.
If you want to know which benefits you might be eligible for, or if you are getting all the benefits to which you may be entitled, call us for a free case evaluation on our North Carolina workers' comp 24/7 hotline - 1-877-393-4980.