NC Statute of Limitations of Workers’ Comp
The state of North Carolina places a time limitations on the filing of a workers’ compensation claim. There are generally three reasons why legislators place a statute of limitations on a cause of action.
- Forces a plaintiff with a valid claim to diligently pursue it within the courts;
- To promote justice; and
- To preserve necessary evidence and witness testimony.
In relation to workers’ compensation, North Carolina law includes two relevant statutes of limitations. The first is in regards to the initial workers’ compensation claim. A worker must file the claim within two years of the initial injury date. This is done by completing the North Carolina Industrial Commission’s Form 18. Your employer should send you the form upon notification of your injury. If this does not happen, you can obtain the form directly from the commission.
Failure to file your form with the Industrial Commission will bar you from ever filing your workers’ compensation claim. The agency is strict about this filing deadline, and it cannot be overcome even if all sides agree to accept a late filing.
To avoid the possibility of a late filing, it is best to submit the form as soon as possible following your injury. This way, there are no worries about a late filing. In situations where the relevant injury is an occupational disease, the two year statute of limitations does not begin until the illness interferes with your ability to work.
When filling out the form, be sure to include all or your suspected injuries. Failure to include something can result in the statute of limitations running out on that particular injury. For example, if you include an injury to your head on your Form 18, but fail to include an injury to your arm, you may lose your ability to receive workers’ compensation benefits for the injury to your arm.
It’s also important to note that the you only have 30 days from the date of injury to notify your employer of your injuries in writing. Filing Form 18 with the Industrial Commission satisfies this requirement.
Retaliation Statute of Limitations – Workers’ Comp Claims
The other area where the North Carolina legislator has instituted a statute of limitations is for retaliation lawsuits. If you believe that your employer retaliated against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim, you are allotted three years from the date of the suspected retaliatory action to file a lawsuit.
You may also choose the option of filing a complaint through the North Carolina Employee Discrimination Bureau. If you choose this alternative, you have 180 days from the date of retaliation to file a complaint with the commission. The agency will conduct an investigation for any reasonable cause to believe that the discharge was in fact unlawful. If the findings are in favor of the employer, the employee is granted a right to sue letter for independent pursuit of the matter. If the findings are in favor of the employee, the agency attempts to resolve the matter through negotiations. If unsuccessful, the EDB can institute a lawsuit in court on the employee’s behalf.
The best way to ensure that you file within the statute of limitations guidelines is to secure the assistance of an experienced Charlotte, North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer to provide you with guidance and help with your case.