Unpaid time off from any job quickly can cause financial difficulties for Guilford County workers. When loss of work time is due to an injury, significant medical expenses add to the burden. Benefits, paid through employer-paid workers’ compensation insurance, cover these losses for employees with occupational injuries or illnesses.
Health care coverage applies to injury-related hospitalizations, surgeries, rehabilitation, prescription drugs, medical travel expenses and other medical costs. Medical benefits are paid as long as “reasonably necessary,” as determined by the state Industrial Commission in accordance with guidelines in the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act.
In addition, benefits equivalent to a portion of lost wages are paid while injured employees are unable to work or work at full capacity. Workers’ compensation benefits are available when workers suffer temporary or permanent injuries that are partially or totally disabling. Some employees continue to receive wage benefits after returning to work, when injuries force workers to take lower paying positions or change employment.
Total disability benefits equal two-thirds of an employee’s weekly wage, no higher than an annually-adjusted state cap. The maximum weekly rate for workers’ comp wage benefits in 2016 is $944, up $24 from the 2015 cap.
Medical costs for workplace injuries may be covered indefinitely, in some cases, even for the remainder of an injured employee’s life. However, the state imposes limits upon how long and under what circumstances benefits for wage losses continue. Claim decisions are based upon the employee’s ability to earn wages, whether or not post-injury employment includes the position a worker held previously.
An injury’s short- and long-term impact upon an employee’s earning capacity is the primary consideration in workers’ compensation wage claims. An attorney can explain the various categories of benefits available under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. Lawyers also help injured workers file claims, dispute denials and pursue all other available benefits and legal compensation.
Source: North Carolina Bar Association, “Workers’ Compensation: What do do in case of an on-the-job injury,” accessed Oct. 08, 2015