When you get hurt on the job in North Carolina, you have the right to file a claim and seek protections under the state’s workers’ compensation insurance program. The benefits that this program provides can help you secure whatever medical care you need, including corrective surgery, physical therapy, or expensive pain management, while also helping to replace a portion of your lost wages while you recover, and sometimes compensating you for permanent injury.
The same benefits are available, if you develop an occupational illness, rather than an injury by accident.
However, in order to connect with the benefits you need to stay financially solvent after an injury or illness related to work, you will need to comply with the state requirements for documentation and claims paperwork. Mistakes in reporting and filing your application or appeal can lead to an unnecessary denial of your benefits.
You need to file with both the state and with your employer
In most cases, your best option for connecting with workers’ compensation benefits involves immediately 1) notifying your employer of the injury, preferably in writing, and 2) filing an accident report with the North Carolina Industrial Commission, if you get injured on the job. However, not all serious workplace medical issues result from a sudden injury or accident. Instead, they may involve the exposure to hazardous chemicals or the slow development of a repetitive stress injury.
In that scenario, you should file a report with your employer as soon as you begin recognizing symptoms or receive a diagnosis related to your job. As with any other type of case, you should notify your employer and file your claim with the Industrial Commission as soon as you can.
Filing documentation with the Industrial Commission, in a North Carolina claim, often has a firm deadline of two years from the date of injury. Waiting any longer could result in an immediate denial of the benefits you need. It is extremely important that you not delay, because the start of the two year period can be complicated, especially in occupational disease cases. Also, if more time has passed, again especially in an occupational disease case, but also in some others, it is sometimes possible to make your claim, anyway. You should call a lawyer, if you have any questions about that.
Working with a lawyer can help you avoid making preventable mistakes
Issues with paperwork and missing deadlines are often reasons North Carolina workers’ compensation claims wind up denied. The best way to avoid these errors is to educate yourself about the system and comply with all legal requirements.
Start with a plan to sit down with an attorney who has experience navigating the complex workers’ compensation insurance program. From there, you can work on gathering the necessary documentation and putting together your claim or appeal as necessary. An attorney can help you avoid the mistakes that often cost people the benefits that they and their family will need in order to bounce back after a workplace injury or illness.