Do I Have to Be Injured at the Workplace to Be Covered by Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina?
If you have suffered a serious injury, you may be wondering if you qualify for workers’ compensation. To receive workers’ compensation in North Carolina, you must sustain an injury at work or an injury that is work-related. There are various factors that could determine whether your injury was work-related or not. If you suffered a serious injury and are unsure if you qualify for workers’ compensation, you should consult with an experienced Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer. Our attorneys know how a serious injury can affect your career and personal life and we are here to represent you. Dewey, Ramsay & Hunt, P.A. is here to explain whether you have to be injured at work to be covered by workers’ compensation in North Carolina.
How to Qualify for Workers’ Comp in North Carolina
Not every injury will qualify for workers’ compensation in North Carolina. As mentioned above, the injury you sustain must be work-related. A work-related injury is one that occurs within the scope of employment. This means that injuries that occur when commuting to or from work will likely not qualify for workers’ compensation unless you were performing some action for your employer during the commute.
You should be eligible for workers’ compensation if injury must have occurred because of an accident that happened at your place of employment. An accident means that the injury must have happened because of an incident that is not part of the employee’s normal work routine. If the accident was caused by the employee unintentionally, they would still be eligible for workers’ compensation.
Alternatively, if it is discovered that the employee intentionally caused the accident, their workers’ comp claim will be denied. Additionally, a workers’ comp claim will also be denied if the accident was caused because the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If an employee violates a rule put in place for the safety of employees, the amount of money they may receive in a workers’ comp claim may be decreased. Determining whether an injury was caused by accident is a frequently contested issue during workers’ comp claims.
Occupational diseases may also be compensable under North Carolina workers’ comp laws. An occupational disease qualifies an employee for workers’ comp if:
- The employee had a higher risk of contracting the disease in comparison to the general public
- The employee worked in a hazardous environment that further increased their risk of contracting the disease
Examples of occupational diseases are carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, or chemical exposures.
It is also important to note that if you qualify for worker’s compensation benefits from your employer, you cannot later sue them for your injuries. However, if a third party is responsible for an accident that causes you to suffer a spinal cord injury or some other serious injury, you may be able to sue them for compensation. If you need to know more about qualifying for workers’ comp in North Carolina, you should speak with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer.
What to Do if You Were Injured at Your Workplace
If you seriously injure yourself at work, preserving your workers’ compensation claim is likely not the first thing on your mind. However, if you were injured while working, you should try to complete the following steps in case the injury threatens your job security. The North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) is responsible for administering the Workers’ Compensation Act and has set guidelines that an employee should follow in the event of an injury.
According to the NCIC, the first step that an employee should take after an injury is to seek immediate medical attention. If your employer has a health care provider on-site or a designated health care provider, you should seek medical attention from them if they can handle your injury. Otherwise, you should seek emergency medical services.
Next, it is recommended that you tell the medical team treating you that you were injured at work and the name of your employer as well. This will allow the health care provider to begin documentation for a workers’ compensation claim.
You should also inform your employer of your injury as soon as possible. If your injury was severe and you cannot contact your employer personally, you should ask a family member, friend, or even the health care provider to deliver the news. Once you are able, and within 30 days of the injury, you should provide your employer with written notice of your injury and the accident that caused it.
Finally, be sure to follow the health care provider’s instructions while recovering from your injury. Failure to follow your physician’s instructions may negatively affect your workers’ compensation claim.
These steps are designed to help you document your workers’ comp claim and receive your benefits as quickly as possible.
Work with Our Charlotte Workman’s Compensation Attorneys to File Your Claim
If you or a family member was injured at the workplace, you should contact an experienced Charlotte workman’s compensation attorney. With over 30 years of combined experience, our attorneys are ready to help you with any issues you may have with obtaining workers’ compensation in North Carolina. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (704) 377-3737 or reach us online.