Five Myths About Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina

In North Carolina, some employees do not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, even though they have worked for an organization for a long time. If you work in North Carolina, we recommend that you review your company policy to know how to proceed should you get injured on the job. In the meantime, here are some myths about workers’ compensation that you can go ahead and debunk. 

How Does Workers’ Compensation Work in North Carolina? 

North Carolina upholds its Workers’ Compensation Act to protect workers across the state and offers guidelines for workers to file claims. In some cases, this act may offer workers’ compensation benefits to employees who their organization does not consider eligible. 

Note that state laws and private corporations may differ on workers’ compensation policy. If the state mandates a workers’ compensation law, then private corporations must honor it. However, if state employees qualify for a non-mandated workers’ compensation benefit, private corporations might decide not to offer that benefit to their employees. 

Here are a few common myths about workers’ compensation in North Carolina: 

Myth 1: North Carolina small family businesses do not need to offer workers’ compensation

Some might think that family businesses do not need to cover their employees because of the small number of employees. However, North Carolina state law says that any business with three or more employees needs to offer workers’ compensation to all employees. Note that this law doesn’t apply to agricultural businesses with less than ten workers.

Myth 2: All organizations in North Carolina must offer workers’ compensation, including non-profit organizations. 

Unfortunately, this is false. According to the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits, non-profit employees are not currently eligible for workers’ compensation if they are not board members. Workers’ compensation only applies to official board members, which means that the state considers non-profit employees who are not official board members as volunteers. 

Myth 3: North Carolina employees do not qualify for workers’ compensation if they work from home. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, thousands of American workers began working from home, which evoked a lot of conversation about the rules and regulations regarding teleworking. Many employers had to redefine their laws to ensure that company policy addressed teleworking expectations. 

Although some employers might think that workers’ compensation does not cover employees who work from home, that’s not entirely true. According to the North Carolina Office of State Human Resources, North Carolina employees are eligible for workers’ compensation while working from home if they injure themselves during designated employee work hours. This conversation will probably continue to develop as more Americans choose to work from home permanently. 

Myth 4: Independent Contractors in North Carolina Are Eligible for Workers’ Compensation

If you’re an independent contractor and not a volunteer, you might think you are eligible for workers’ compensation. However, according to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Government, independent contractors are ineligible for workers’ compensation because the state does not consider them technical employees of an organization. Although private corporations might have different rules that qualify all of their employees, the state of North Carolina does not mandate this benefit for independent contractors. 

Myth 5: Injured Employees Can Seek Care at Any Healthcare Facility

If you are a state employee, you must seek medical care at the approved medical care facilities. State policy says that supervisors must schedule any medical care for employees if they injure themselves on the job. Employees who do not get care at an approved facility might be ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Therefore, speak with your supervisor immediately after you injure yourself to find out the next step. 

Talk to A Workers’ Compensation Attorney in North Carolina

Need to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney about your claim? At Lennon, Camak, & Bertics PLLC, we’re here to help. Contact us today to see how we can help you claim your worker’s compensation benefits.