If injured at work in North Carolina, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will probably cover you. Unlike some states where this is entirely optional, almost all employers with three or more staff need to have it in North Carolina. The rare exceptions are specific agricultural, domestic or railroad workers, and those employed by the Federal government (who may be compensated under a separate system).
However, it is possible to lose your chance to claim if you do not follow the rules. These are some errors to avoid:
- Failing to inform your employer: Notify your employer as soon as the accident happens. You must also notify them in writing within 30 days, though there are some important exceptions. It is better to do this as quickly as possible.
- Ignoring your injury: It is easy to dismiss a minor incident or injury, especially when under pressure to get a job done. Do not be tempted to brave it out. Not all injuries or symptoms are immediately apparent. For example, a blow to the head may feel like nothing but could be a traumatic brain injury with long-lasting effects. If you fail to get it examined at the time, you might lose your opportunity to claim. And again, report every accident, even if the injury does not seem severe at the time. Back injuries, in particular, can worsen with time. If you do not report an injury when it happens, because you do not want to “make waves,” you may find your claim denied later.
- Failing to follow your doctor’s advice: If medical professionals tells you to take a month off, do so. If they say you should only return to light duties and avoid particular tasks, do as they say. Failing to follow their advice could lead to aggravating your injuries. Then an insurance company may claim any aggravation was your fault, as you disobeyed the medical advice.
It is easy to make mistakes when dealing with legal matters, such as completing a workers’ compensation claim. That is why you should get help from a legal professional.