Anatamy of a Workers’ Comp Case

If you have been injured on the job in North Carolina, you are probably scared (about your health and possibly loss of income/job security), nervous and a little uncertain of what the future will hold.  However, knowledge is power – so the more you know about how the process will unfold, the more confident you will become.  Here is a quick rundown (big picture stuff) of the Workers’ Comp process in North Carolina from A-Z…

  1. You are hurt in an accident at work.
  2.  If you haven’t already, you should immediately report the accident to your employer.
  3. Seek medical treatment for your injuries.  Your employer may have a doctor on-site, or they may direct you to a designated health care provider.
  4. Tell the medical services provider that your injury occurred at work, and give them the name of your employer so that the treatment can be billed as a Workers Comp claim.  (Give the doctor as much detail as possible about how the accident occurred, what it did to your body, what you felt/experienced at the time of and immediately after the accident, and any other details that are necessary for the doctor to adequately understand what happened to you and how it has affected your body.)
  5. Give written notice to your employer of the accident.  The law requires that this notice be given within 30 days of the accident.  It would be prudent to copy the notice and give it to several people, in addition to keeping a copy for your files and to give to your attorney (should you require one).
  6. You can use Form 18 to provide the notice in #5 to your employer.  A Form 18 must also be filed with the Industrial Commission within two years of the accident.
  7. Follow the instructions and restrictions provided by your doctor.
  8. Return to work – hopefully without being out for too long.
  9. In the event that your claim is denied, you should speak with a Workers’ Comp lawyer to help you decide what to do next.  You will probably have to request a hearing and will need the help of an attorney to do this.
  10. If you are out of work longer than 7 days, or get terminated as a result of the injury, you should speak with a lawyer about what to do.

Most people are cleared to return to work after only being out a couple of weeks.  However, if you have sustained a more serious injury that involves a complete or partial disability, then you may be out of work much longer than that.  Since Workers Comp benefits can go on indefinitely, the insurance company will do everything they can to cut off or limit the amount of those checks.  Many people are more than capable of handling their claim on their own – but as with everything in life, the more complicated the claim, serious the injury, or difficult the adjuster is being, the more likely you are to need an attorney to help you.