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If I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim, Am I Suing My Company?

Prospective clients sometimes ask me whether, by going forward with their workers' compensation claim, if they are bringing a lawsuit against their employer. The answer is NO!

WorkersComp47_07022014Under North Carolina state law, employers are actually required to report certain workplace injuries to the North Carolina Industrial Commission, and a claim is then opened on behalf of the injured worker. The injured worker cannot voluntarily decide not to have the claim opened.

Workers' Comp Insurance & the "No Fault" System

Further, employers are required by state law to have insurance for such claims (with some limited exceptions). State law sets forth not only the types of losses for which the injured worker may receive compensation, (such as medical bills and payment of partial income while out of work), but also limits the areas for which the insurance company is responsible.

Since workers' comp is a "no-fault" system (meaning it does not need to be determined who caused the accident, and no one is liable), things work a little differently from other types of accident claims.

For instance, injured workers are not allowed to recover from the insurance company any money for pain and suffering experienced as a result of a work-related injury, no matter how painful the injury or how long such pain lasts. In addition, an injured worker is actually prohibited by law from bringing a separate lawsuit against the employer, or fellow employees, no matter how negligent the employer may have been in causing the worker's injury.

Denials - Like a Lawsuit, But Not Quite

Certainly, there will be times when an insurance company will not agree to pay all or part of a workers' compensation claim. When that happens, disputes are decided by the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Those disputes may involve hearings before a Deputy Commissioner, and take on some of the same aspects of a traditional lawsuit.

The primary differences, however, are that lawsuits are voluntarily brought in civil courts where juries make final decisions, whereas North Carolina workers' compensation law requires employers to report injuries and any disputes may be resolved more promptly by Deputy Commissioners who usually have significant experience applying the very limited laws.

If You've Been Injured, You Need to Act Quickly

If you've been injured at work and you don't think your claim has been reported to the Industrial Commission, you need to act quickly. There are time limits for reporting injuries and you could be barred from much-needed benefits.

For help, contact an attorney immediately.  Most NC workers' compensation attorneys will work with you on a "contingency fee," which means they won't take an attorney's fee until they get money for you first.

At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, our workers' comp staff is comprised of several NC Board Certified Workers' Compensation Specialists, a former North Carolina Industrial Commission Special Deputy Commissioner and a former Deputy Commissioner (one of whom was a former state senator), and people who used to work for workers' compensation defense firms.

Click here for a free case evaluation or call us at 1-866-900-7078


Brian Clemmons joined the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin in 2010.

Mr. Clemmons received his J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law. He received his B.A. in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He’s spoken at numerous continuing legal education courses and has more than 23 years of experience in a variety of practice areas, including: personal injury, Workers' Compensation and Social Security Disability. He also has a great deal of experience as a defense attorney for insurance firms, so he has seen personal injury law from both sides of the table.

Mr. Clemmons believes that honest communication is key to a successful case.

Contact Information

Asheville Law Office

300 Ridgefield Court Suite 309
Asheville, NC 28806
Phone: 828-552-8215
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Charlotte Law Office

301 S McDowell St, Suite 900
Charlotte, NC 28204
Phone: 704-599-1078
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Durham Law Office

280 South Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-688-4991
Fax: 800-716-7881

Fayetteville Law Office

2915 Raeford Road, Suite 204
Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone: 910-488-0611
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Goldsboro Law Office

1308 Wayne Memorial Drive, Suite B
Goldsboro, NC 27534
Phone: 919-731-2581
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Greensboro Law Office

300 N. Greene Street, Suite 850
Greensboro, North Carolina 27401
Phone: 336-665-7072
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Greenville Law Office

702 Cromwell Dr. Suite G
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-355-5205
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3227

Henderson Law Office

514 Dabney Drive, Suite 200
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-492-4600
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Morganton Law Office

216 N. Sterling Street, Suite B
Morganton, NC 28655
Phone: 828-219-3080
Toll Free: 1-844-520-2894

New Bern Law Office

1505 South Glenburnie Rd, Unit P
New Bern, NC 28562
Phone: 252-634-9010
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3422

Raleigh Law Office

4325 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27607
Phone: 919-834-1184
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Roanoke Rapids Law Office

709 Julian R. Allsbrook Highway
Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870
Phone: 252-537-9670
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Rocky Mount Law Office

144 Woodridge Court
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Phone: 252-937-4730
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Sanford Law Office

703-B South Horner Boulevard
Sanford, NC 27330
Phone: 919-775-1564
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Wilson Law Office

2315 Airport Blvd Suite A
Wilson, North Carolina 27896
Phone: 252-246-9090
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Winston-Salem Law Office

301 N. Main Street, Suite 2409-C
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078