If you were injured at work, you may be dealing with costly, stressful bills for your medical treatment. However, financial help may be available. You could be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, which can pay for major medical expenses like surgery, hospitalization, doctor appointments, and prescription medication. While most injuries qualify, it’s important to understand the basic criteria for obtaining benefits. In this article, the Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyers of the Ramsay Law Firm explain which injuries are – and aren’t – covered by workers’ comp in North Carolina.
What Injuries Qualify for Workman’s Compensation Benefits in North Carolina?
Before we explain which injuries qualify for workers’ comp benefits in North Carolina, let’s establish some basic background about the program.
First, you should know that workers’ compensation is a private insurance system governed by the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC). You should also know that the majority of employers in North Carolina, including small businesses, are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage in case of a workplace death or injury. If your employer tells you that you do not qualify, or that you do not have access to workers’ compensation, you should alert our attorneys immediately. Even if only a few employees work at your company, the business is likely required to maintain coverage.
Assuming the business is subject to the state’s workers’ compensation laws, which is true of most employers in North Carolina, almost any injury will qualify you to receive benefits. This ranges from minor, temporary injuries, such as a broken finger, to catastrophic, permanent injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Fatal injuries are also covered, with benefits being awarded to the victim’s surviving dependents. Examples of injuries that can qualify you for workman’s compensation benefits in North Carolina include:
- Back Injuries
- Broken back (fractured vertebrae)
- Bulging and herniated discs
- Chronic severe back pain
- Spinal cord injuries (SCI) and paralysis
- Bone Fractures
- Broken arms or legs
- Broken collarbones (fractured clavicle)
- Broken fingers, thumbs, or toes
- Broken hips (pelvic fractures)
- Broken kneecaps
- Broken ribs
- Broken wrists
- Burn Injuries
- Chemical burn injuries
- Electrical burn injuries
- Friction burns
- Third degree burn injuries
- Head Injuries
- Blunt force trauma injuries
- Facial injuries, such as a broken nose or broken cheekbone
- Skull fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), including concussions
- Other Types of Injuries
- Bruises and contusions
- Chest and abdominal injuries
- Crush injuries from being trapped beneath heavy objects
- Cuts and lacerations
- Repetitive strain injuries (RSI), such as carpal tunnel
- Slip and fall injuries
- Soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash from car accidents
- Torn ligaments
- Workplace violence and assault
This is not an exhaustive list, but conveys a sense of how many different injuries can qualify for coverage. Even if you do not see your injury on the list above, you should speak with a workplace injury lawyer to determine what options you may have for seeking compensation.
When Doesn’t Workers’ Comp Cover Workplace Injuries?
As discussed above, workers’ compensation covers a huge spectrum of minor to life-threatening work injuries. However, while the workers’ comp program does not necessarily rule out any types of injuries, it may rule out certain injury causes, or circumstances that were present when the injury occurred.
For example, compensation may not be available in cases where the worker caused his or her own injuries by being intoxicated. For instance, if the worker crashed the company car while driving under the influence, he or she would not be able to obtain benefits. Claims can also be denied if the worker intentionally caused his or her own injuries, similar to the way a policyholder cannot deliberately crash their vehicle to collect insurance money.
A claim can also be denied if the worker fails to notify their employer, or to seek medical treatment, in a timely fashion. The worker should notify his or her employer of the injury within 30 days of the accident, and should receive care as soon as possible – not only to get an accurate diagnosis, but more importantly, to prevent the injury from getting worse.
Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Can File Your Claim
Medical bills can cost thousands of dollars, placing you under intense financial pressure. Workers’ compensation benefits can provide relief by paying for your care, enabling you to receive quality treatment without suffering financial hardship. To learn more about the process for filing a workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina, contact the Charlotte personal injury lawyers of the Ramsay Law Firm online, or call us at (704) 376-1616 for a free consultation.