North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits are meant to compensate you if you have suffered a work-related injury. There are a number of elements of your workers’ compensation benefits that are meant to both help you recover from your injuries and provide you with some income while you cannot work.
Here, we will explain the different types of benefits that you may receive as part of your claim. If you have additional questions, contact the attorneys at Horton & Mendez to learn more.
Payments for Your Medical Expenses Related to Your Injuries
The first part of your workers’ compensation benefits comes whenever you have suffered an injury. The insurance carrier must pay reasonable and necessary medical costs to treat your injury.
These costs may include the following:
- Doctor’s office visits
- Medical prescriptions
- Medical equipment
The medical benefits come with a catch. You must see a physician that is selected by your employer. You can only see your own doctor if you can show that it can help you recover from your injuries more quickly.
Disability Payments for Time Missed From Work
The second major part of your workers’ compensation benefits is the percentage of your wages that you will receive. In North Carolina, you are legally entitled to be paid two-thirds of your weekly wages up to a $978 statutory limit. North Carolina is particularly helpful to injured workers in one significant regard — injured employees can receive benefits for up to 500 weeks if they cannot return to work.
Of course, your benefits may be terminated when your doctor deems you ready to return to work, but you have a wide window to recover and not have to worry as much financially. However, if you were a higher-paid worker before your injury, there is still a cap on benefits that you cannot exceed. Nonetheless, the possibility of receiving payments for up to ten years makes your workers’ compensation claim even more high stakes.
Your disability benefits may still be limited based on your disability rating. For example, if you can partially work, you will receive a fraction of your benefits corresponding to your disability rating.
Some employees may be deemed to be permanently disabled, and they will receive payment for a set number of weeks, depending on the injury. For example, they can receive 300 weeks of benefits for a permanent back injury multiplied by the fraction that they were disabled.
Vocational Benefits for Injured Workers
Workers must return to work when they are able, subject to restrictions placed on them by their doctor. In some cases, the employer cannot accommodate the employee’s work restrictions, and they have the legal ability to terminate them. The North Carolina workers’ compensation program benefits workers who get retrained to enter a new type of job.
For example, if a construction worker suffered a permanent injury to a body part, they can be retrained to perform administrative or clerical duties that do not require physical exertion. However, some insurance companies will try to fight injured workers on certain vocational assistance that they will need for jobs, such as paying for college courses.
Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits
Workers’ compensation is not just to compensate injured workers and pay their medical expenses. Some workers are killed in job-related accidents, and the workers’ compensation system is also there for their families.
First, workers’ compensation will cover burial expenses up to $10,000. However, insurance companies have been known to drag their feet in paying benefits when the family needs the money. They may even try to deny a claim if they believe that the death was not work-related. Given the amount of money at stake, insurance companies often make life difficult for the family.
The families will continue to receive payments for some time. Instead of a maximum of 500 weeks of benefits, death payments will continue for a minimum of 500 weeks. The spouse will continue to receive two-thirds of the deceased spouse’s average weekly wage until they die or remarry. A minor child will receive the benefits until they reach the age of 18, no matter what age they were when their parent died.
However, determining who is legally entitled to death benefits and how much of the benefit they receive can be legally complicated. You should contact an attorney to learn how the death benefit may be paid and who can get it. While death benefits are paid weekly, families may also want to consider a structured settlement or receiving a lump sum to get the money all at once. You can negotiate with the insurance company because it wants to close the claim off its books once and for all.
Call a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Benefits Attorney Today
The attorneys at Horton & Mendez work on behalf of injured North Carolina workers and their families to help them get the financial benefits they need. We can cut through the red tape the insurance company is putting in your way.
To schedule your free initial consultation, you can send us a message online or call us today at (910) 668-8067. You owe us nothing unless we help you win your case.
Workers’ Compensation Claim FAQs
What if the insurance company denies my workers’ compensation claim?
The insurance company does not get the last word. You can file an appeal with the North Carolina Industrial Commission to get a hearing from an objective judge.
Can families appeal when a claim for death benefits is denied?
Families have the same right to appeal a denial of death benefits as an injured worker will have.
How long do I have to appeal the denial of my claim?
North Carolina does not give you a lot of time. You only have 14 days from the date of denial to file an appeal, or you can forever give up your rights.