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Call to reform workers' comp policies in North Carolina

According to the results of an investigation into employers' workers' compensation policies in North Carolina, tens of thousands of employers do not provide insurance to workers who have suffered injuries on the job. The North Carolina Industrial Commission has announced they will review their policies to make sure employees are protected against negligent employers.

The chairwoman of the commission has conceded that the program has flaws, and said the Commission will examine the enforcement mechanism of their workers' compensation benefits.

According to the investigation, not only does the state not track whether a company protects its employees with workers' compensation insurance coverage, they do not always enforce fines on the evading companies.

State databases show that approximately 140,000 of the 170,000 companies in North Carolina have insurance--the rest place their employees at risk by leaving them uninsured. The Industrial Commission faced 62,409 claims brought by injured workers in 2011.

A possible solution that has been suggested by lawmakers is to hand over the investigation of workers' compensation fraud to the Department of Insurance. In fact, the insurance commissioner has even claimed he would conduct such investigations if he were directed to do so and provided with the needed resources.

Employees injured on the job have a right to claim workers' compensation benefits, and a movement has begun in North Carolina to make sure that those who suffer the emotional and physical trauma of a work-related injury are not denied this right. Injured workers facing difficulties should consider consulting an attorney experienced in workers' compensation issues to make sure their interests are protected.

Source: Charlotte Observer, "N.C. Industrial Commission to review workers' comp policies," Mandy Locke and John Frank, April 3, 2012

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