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Basic facts about North Carolina workers' compensation

Injured North Carolina industrial workers who have had no prior experience with the workers' compensation process frequently feel confused about their rights and duties. Often, employers can answer questions injured workers may have, but in some cases, the employer does not have the right information. If you have recently been injured at work or would simply like to educate yourself about workers' compensation, here are a few basic facts to consider.

Workers' comp coverage: Most industrial employers are required by law to have workers' compensation insurance coverage. This protects both the workforce and the employer and includes some form of coverage for independent contractors as well as salaried staff.

Reporting injuries: The very first step following a workplace injury is to report the incident in writing as well as orally to employers. If the injury is so severe it prevents immediate reporting, be sure to make an official written report within 30 days.

No coverage: If an employer does not have workers' compensation insurance, the injured worker must report the absence of coverage to the NCIC Fraud Section. There are several forms the injured worker can complete outside of the workplace to facilitate his or her injury claim.

Employer refusal: If an employer refuses to report an injury to the workers' comp insurance carrier, an injured worker can fill out separate forms to further a claim. Engaging a workers' comp attorney is also a good proactive step as it is against the law for employers to refuse their duty of reporting injuries.

Remember, workers' compensation is your right as part of the North Carolina workforce. If you experience difficulties getting your claim approved or with any other aspect of workers' comp, an attorney can help you seek satisfaction.

Source: North Carolina Industrial Commission, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed June 16, 2015

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