Injuries sustained at the workplace can put a person out of work for weeks or months. Thankfully, you can rely on workers compensation benefits during this period.
If you suffered a work related accident, talk to an experienced Charlotte work injury lawyer to help you get the benefits you deserve.
Who Is Eligible for Workers Compensation Benefits?
According to the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, all employers with three or more employees must either carry worker’s compensation insurance or be privately insured. Certain types of employees aren’t covered by workers compensation:
- Casual employees who don’t work regular hours and can leave without notice
- Domestic “household” employees
- Farm workers where there are fewer than 10 employees
- Federal government employees
- Railroad employees
- Corporate officers who choose to be excluded from coverage
What Are Lost Wage Benefits and How Much Do They Cover in North Carolina
Apart from compensation for medical costs mandated by NCGS 97-27, the employee is also entitled to lost wage (or disability) benefits if they can’t return to work for some time after the accident. Lost wage benefits are awarded in two conditions: temporary disability and permanent disability.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
If you aren’t able to work while recovering, you can receive temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. You won’t receive TTD benefits for the first seven days you miss work unless you end up missing more than 21 days.
Your benefits are two-thirds of your weekly earnings at the time of the accident. Note that there is a maximum amount of benefits based on the year you were hurt or became disabled.
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
You can receive temporary partial disability benefits if you are able to work but your wages are reduced while you recover. These benefits pay about 66% of the difference between your previous average weekly wage and what you earn now. For example,
Also, note that maximum limits apply.
You can generally only receive TTD or TPD benefits for up to 500 weeks. If you want to apply for extended temporary total disability benefits, you must prove you’re completely unable to work.
Permanent Disability Benefits
At some point in the course of treatment for your work-related injuries, you will reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). This means that your condition is not likely to improve with further medical care.
Once you reach MMi, you will be subject to a functional evaluation to see if the injury left any permanent impairment or limitations. If this is the case, you will receive permanent disability benefits The amount of these benefits depends on the body part that was affected.
Scheduled Loss of Use Awards
The North Carolina workers compensation law has clear guidelines with respect to the type of permanent disability benefits available for various types of limitations. They are spelled out in the Schedule of Injury section, and calculated as follows:
Two-thirds of the average weekly wages x number of weeks according to the impairment rating
For example, if you lost a foot as a result of your workplace accident, your benefits will be calculated for a period of 144 weeks. For the loss of a hand, the number of weeks is 200.
Unscheduled Permanent Partial Disability Awards
Some types of limitations or disabilities are not included in the list mentioned above. In this case, the workers comp law determines that you should receive a lump sum, as follows:
- up to $20,000 for loss or permanent damage to an internal or external body organ or body part not included in the schedule
- up to $20,000 for serious disfigurement to the face or head
- up to $10,000 for serious disfigurement to another body part not covered by the schedule.
Your Charlotte workers compensation lawyer will talk to your doctors or seek independent medical evaluations, if necessary, to make sure that your disability is documented and you receive the compensation you deserve.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
Some workplace injuries leave you with severe disabilities. These include:
- Severe brain injury
- Severe spine injury causing paralysis of the upper or lower body
- Second or third-degree burns on at least a third of your body
- Loss of both eyes, arms, feet, or a combination of these.
In this case, you qualify for permanent total disability benefits, which will be paid for the rest of your life. Their value will be the same as for temporary total disability benefits.
What to Do After a Workplace Injury
Never take a workplace injury lightly, even if the damage seems minor at first, instead, here’s how you should respond to such a situation:
- Photograph the accident scene and your injuries.
- Notify your manager or supervisor right away. You should receive a list of approved doctors.
- Seek immediate medical care from an approved doctor, tell the doctor your injury is work-related, and keep copies of your medical records.
- Submit a written accident report to your employer within 30 days. Keep a copy for your records.
Let a Qualified Charlotte Work Injury Lawyer Help You
Navigating the workers compensation system is complicated. Knowing that you’re not alone in this can make all the difference. Our Charlotte work injury lawyers will make sure that your rights are respected throughout.
Let’s start with a free consultation session and see how we can help you get the benefits you deserve!