If you have been injured on the job in North Carolina, you probably have a lot of questions. Once you’ve gotten the necessary medical attention, your first thoughts are most likely about your income, especially if you will not be able to work for an extended period of time. As long as you were working when you got hurt, even if you were off-site, at a tradeshow or on a business trip, for example, you could be eligible to receive workers’ compensation.
While many injuries are the result of one incident, such as a fall, many are caused by repetitive motion, like carpal tunnel syndrome, or are considered an occupational disease, such as being exposed to asbestos. Whether or not the injury was your fault doesn’t really matter. However, if you were hurt due to willful misconduct or as the result of being intoxicated while on the job, the law does protect your employer.
How Do I Apply for Workers’ Compensation?
There are five steps you need to take in order to apply for workers’ compensation in the state of North Carolina:
- The first thing you need to do is get medical attention for your injury. If your injury is serious, go to the closest treatment facility right away. If less severe, ask your employer if you need to go to a specific place required by their insurance.
- Wherever you go, make sure they know that the treatment should be billed as a workers’ compensation claim.
- It is very important that you speak with an upper member of your employer’s management team, the business owner, or someone in Human Resources and tell them about the injury as soon as you can.
- Let your employer know about the injury in writing in timely manner and at least within 30 days. Make sure to include the date of the accident and description of the injury. For a repetitive injury or occupational disease, you have to let your employer know within 30 days of the date your doctor informed you that the injury was related to your job.
- File a Form 18 with the Industrial Commission within two years of the date of injury or occupational disease or your claim may be barred. However, for asbestosis, silicosis and byssinosis, an individual should use Form 18B.
- Make sure to follow the doctor’s orders so you can get back to work as soon as possible.
How Can a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Help Me?
For a minor injury, there’s a good chance that you will not need an attorney. However, if your employer is disputing your medical treatment or the benefits to be paid, you may need to consult a North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney.
In addition, if you have found out that your employer is supposed to have workers’ compensation insurance but doesn’t, an attorney can assist you with that situation as well. Often an employer’s lack of insurance isn’t discovered until an employee is injured, and by then it is too late.
If you have any questions about workers’ compensation, the attorneys at Merritt Webb can help answer them. We will let you know about your rights and the actions you need to take in order to get the compensation you deserve. Call us today to make an appointment to speak with an attorney who has extensive experience in handling workers’ compensation claims.