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What happens if an employer fails to pay compensation benefits on time?

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

If you get injured in a work-related accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation under your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ comp can cover for your medical expenses, the costs for rehabilitation and even the wages you’ve lost due to your injury.

By North Carolina law, employers or their insurers must pay employees compensation within 14 days of notice of the injury. But what happens if they fail to make this payment? What can you do as an injured employee if your employer or their insurer can’t pay in time?

Penalties for the employer or insurer

Per state law, if your employer or their insurer is unable to pay an installment of compensation within 14 days after it becomes due, they’re required to add an additional 10% of the amount they owe you. Your employer or insurer must pay this added compensation together with the installment once it’s available.

However, the North Carolina Industrial Commission reserves the right to excuse an employer from being unable to hand out benefits if they can prove that circumstances out of their control prevented them from making payments.

Employers must quickly assess workers’ claims

Employers must also clearly communicate whether they approve or deny a worker’s claim within those 14 days. They must inform both the state Commission and the employee, explaining the reasons for the denial and informing the worker that they have a right to a hearing to appeal the rejection.

Uncertainties over liability, claim compensability

An employer might be unsure about whether it has liability for a worker’s claim, or whether the claim itself is compensable. Regardless of the case, state law allows employers to make compensation payments without prejudice or admitting liability. They can continue to make payments until they contest or accept liability or issue a notice of the injury.

These uncertainties shouldn’t prevent your employer from providing you with payment.

If your employer continues to hold back on compensation payments for no good reason, you might want to consider filing a claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. This might lead to a hearing, where you’ll confront your employer or their insurer over their non-payment. A legal professional may be able to guide you through this complicated process and advise you of your rights to compensation.

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