Workers’ compensation is a vital system that provides employees with medical benefits and wage replacement if they sustain injuries while performing their duties. In North Carolina, the process of determining the workers comp settlement for permanent disability involves several key factors. This blog post will delve into the details of how these settlements are calculated.
The Concept of Permanent Impairment Rating
Workplace injuries can be stressful events. Some injuries may not improve with treatment, leading to a loss of a body part or reduced function. In such cases, the doctor will assign a permanent impairment rating. This rating reflects the percentage of change from your pre-injury condition.
The term “maximum medical improvement” (MMI) is used in workers’ compensation. MMI is when your injury has healed as much as it is going to. It doesn’t always mean that you’re back to normal. You might still have deformity, pain, weakness, or loss of function that hasn’t improved with treatment.
If you disagree with the doctor’s rating, you are entitled to get a second opinion from another doctor of your choosing. The Industrial Commission will average the two ratings to determine your benefits.
Factors in the Workers Comp Settlement Amount
The amount of workers’ compensation settlement can vary widely depending on a variety of factors. Here are some of the primary elements that can influence the amount of a workers’ compensation settlement in North Carolina.
The severity of the injury is one of the most critical factors that can affect a workers’ compensation settlement. Injuries that result in permanent disability or require extensive medical treatment will generally result in higher settlements.
The impairment rating assigned by the doctor is a crucial determinant in the settlement amount. This rating is a percentage that signifies the extent of your injury and its impact on your ability to perform your job duties.
Average Weekly Wage
The average weekly wage of the worker is another significant factor. The compensation rate for total disability is sixty-six and two-thirds percent (66 2/3%) of the worker’s average weekly wages.
The worker’s capability to return to work after the injury can also affect the settlement amount. If the worker is unable to return to their previous job due to their injury, the settlement amount may be higher.
Disputes and Controversies
Disputes over whether the injury was work-related, the severity of the injury, or the impairment rating can also influence the settlement amount.
Having experienced legal representation can also impact the settlement amount. Workers’ compensation attorneys can help ensure that all relevant factors are considered and that the worker receives a fair settlement.
Compensation Rates for Total Disability
In North Carolina, when an employee qualifies for total disability, workers compensation pays sixty-six and two-thirds percent (66 2/3%) of the average weekly wages. However, the actual amount should not be more than the amount established annually to be effective January 1.
Calculating the Settlement for Permanent Disability
The calculation for permanent partial disability benefits involves multiplying the average weekly wage by 66.67%, then multiplying that by the number of weeks of compensation allowed for the body part, and finally multiplying that by the impairment rating.
For example, if an employee with an average weekly wage of $1,000 has a 20% impairment rating for a body part that has a compensation period of 300 weeks, the calculation would be as follows: $1,000×66.67%×300×20%=$40,000.
This means the employee would receive a Permanent Partial Disability Payment of $40,000.
Relevant Laws and Statutes
The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act (WC Act), Chapter 97 of the NC General Statutes, governs claims for compensation for injuries arising out of employment. The North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) maintains claim records, adjudicates disputes, and approves certain awards of benefits under the WC Act.
Call Our Charlotte Workers Comp Lawyers Today
Understanding the workers’ compensation settlement process in North Carolina can be complex. If you’ve been injured at work, a skilled Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer can be an invaluable ally.
We specialize in representing injured workers and ensuring they receive fair compensation for their injuries and losses. Contact our law firm today at 704-706-2689 for a free case review.