What Qualifies Me to Receive Workers’ Compensation in NC?

Experiencing an injury or accident while at work can be a major setback. Fortunately, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, including payments for medical expenses and some lost wages. Every state has its own workers’ compensation laws and procedures so we’ve compiled a list of commonly asked questions to help determine if you are eligible for workers’ comp in North Carolina.

What is workers’ compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a benefit paid to workers who have suffered compensable work-related injuries or occupational diseases. In exchange for this protection, you cannot sue your employer for damages.

Who is covered by workers’ compensation?

There are 4 general requirements to be eligible for workers’ comp benefits in North Carolina:

  • You must be an employee
  • Your employer must carry workers’ comp insurance.
  • You must have a work-related injury or illness
  • You must meet your state’s deadlines for reporting the injury and filing a workers’ comp claim

Find a more detailed explanation about each requirement below.

Who is an employee in NC?

Full-time, part-time and most temporary workers are counted as employees under NC workers’ compensation law. The program does not cover independent contractors.

What if my employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance in NC?

Under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, all businesses with three or more employees must purchase insurance or qualify as self-insured. Non-insured employers can face criminal charges. If your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance, you may either file a civil lawsuit or file a claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. We highly recommend consulting a Raleigh workers’ compensation law firm like Lennon, Camak & Bertics should you pursue either option.

What is considered a workplace injury?

A workplace injury includes most injuries, accidents or illnesses that occur on the job, including those caused by exposure to work activities, environment, and equipment. So long as the work-related injury or disease is a substantial contributing factor in your disability, it is compensable. Workplace injuries include:

  • Repetitive strains injuries. These injuries are caused by repeated motions performed as part of the job. They’re the most common workplace injury.
  • Occupational illness. This includes a disease or medical condition that has directly resulted from work or working conditions. 
  • Emotional or Mental Stress Injuries. Emotional or mental stress caused by a specific workplace-related incident may qualify, but each case is reviewed individually.

Workers’ comp generally doesn’t cover:

  • Self-inflicted injuries
  • Injuries due to fighting or roughhousing
  • Injuries that happen during a normal commute
  • Injuries incurred while committing a crime, under the influence of drugs or alcohol or violating company policies

Does my injury have to be my employer’s fault for me to receive workers’ compensation?

No. Workers’ compensation is a “no fault” insurance program. This means any injury resulting from a job-related accident or incident can be covered by workers comp regardless of how the injury happened, who is at fault or where on your employer’s property the incident occurred. At most, your benefits may be reduced by 10% for failing to observe recognized safety laws.

What is the workers’ comp statute of limitations in NC?

In North Carolina, an employee has two years from the date of the injury to file a workers’ compensation claim. However, it is in your best interest to report the incident to your employer as soon as it occurs. Delaying to file could result in the insurance provider denying you compensation benefits.

What types of benefits do workers’ compensation laws provide?

The primary benefits are weekly indemnity wage loss benefits and full medical care for the work-related injury and/or disease. The indemnity benefits are capped at a maximum rate but are tax free.

Are you ready to file for a workers’ compensation claim?

If you have been hurt on the job, don’t wait to apply for the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. Talk to a Raleigh workers’ compensation attorney at Lennon, Camak & Bertics today to start the process. To learn more, check out our Workers’ Compensation FAQs.

This article is intended for general information only. The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.