How Does Workers’ Compensation Work in North Carolina?

Employers across the country must have some form of workers’ compensation insurance if one of their employees becomes injured or ill because of their job. Because workers’ compensation guidelines can change from state to state, it’s imperative to understand how the laws in your state work if you’re injured on the job or are diagnosed with an occupational illness so that you can receive the proper benefits.

The following provides more information on how workers’ compensation works in North Carolina and the benefits you may be eligible for.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a form of no-liability insurance that most North Carolina employers are required to have in case an employee is injured while at work. This insurance provides various benefits for injured or ill employees, such as supplemental wage replacements and assistance with medical bills, to assist them during their healing process. North Carolina law states that any employer with three or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance regardless of what kind of business they are in. This law means that LLCs, partnerships, sole proprietorships, and corporations alike all must adhere to the workers’ compensation requirements if they have three or more employees. Most North Carolina employees are eligible for workers’ compensation unless they are considered “exempt,” which includes groups such as domestic and agricultural workers.

The Different Types of Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina

Because the circumstances of every injury and illness are unique, there are a variety of different benefits offered through a North Carolina employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for one or more of the following kinds of workers’ compensation:

Medical Expense Assistance

One of the most common and simplest forms of workers’ compensation claims in North Carolina covers medical expenses only. In most cases, a worker that is injured on the job or diagnosed with an occupational illness has the right to file a claim for assistance paying past, current, and future medical bills that arise from their work-related condition. The employer has the right to choose their own doctors to evaluate and treat their employee, but that employee also has the right to petition for a doctor change if they believe the doctor is unfit.

Disability Benefits

There are four main kinds of disability benefits an employee can receive in North Carolina if they were injured on the job and then became disabled:

  1. Temporary Partial Disability: This benefit is granted to an employee whose disability now decreases their earning capacity in the workforce, but they can still return to work at some point.
  2. Temporary Total Disability: This benefit is granted to an employee who is temporarily disabled but fully unable to work now.
  3. Permanent Partial Disability: This benefit is granted to an employee who received a partial disability that will impact them and their earning capacity in the workforce for the rest of their life.
  4. Permanent Total Disability: This benefit is granted to an employee with a full physical or mental disability that keeps them from being able to work.

Vocational Rehabilitation Assistance

In many cases, an employee’s injuries prevent them from doing their previous job and require them to change positions. When this occurs, they may file a claim for vocational rehabilitation benefits for assistance and training to re-enter the workforce. Vocational rehabilitation benefits can include financial assistance to go back to school or for vocational training, counseling appointments, on-site job training, and more. These benefits are often offered to employees with temporary or partial disabilities who can return to work either now or in the future.

Wrongful Death Benefits

If an employee passes away due to an occupational illness or a fatal work accident, their family or the dependents they left behind can file a claim for wrongful death benefits. Families can file these claims because, in most circumstances, the individuals left behind depended on that employee for their income and emotional support in the family. The benefits may be available to the “next of kin” if the employee had no listed dependents.


Q: How Do You File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in NC?

A: After being injured, you must file an accident report with your employer first. From there, you can gather medical records and other documents that support your claim and prepare to file it. You must complete what is known as a “Form 18,” where you will detail the job that caused your injury or illness, your relationship with your employer, and the losses you endured that are covered by workers’ compensation.

Q: How Is Workers’ Compensation Paid in NC?

A: Your payments will begin soon after your claim has been accepted and finalized. Payments are sent out weekly via check, detailing the exact benefits you are receiving in addition to the pay period it covers.

Q: What Is the Statute of Limitations on Workers’ Compensation Claims in North Carolina?

A: In North Carolina, the statute of limitations on workers’ compensation claims is two years. This means that an employee has two full years from when their injury occurred to file a claim with the Industrial Commission.

Q: How Do You Know if You’re Eligible for Lost Wage Compensation in North Carolina?

A: An employee that is injured or ill due to work-related causes can begin receiving compensation for lost wages if they have missed over seven days of work. However, an employee does not receive payment for the first seven days that are missed unless they suffer a disability that lasts longer than 21 days.

Your Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Firm

You might be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if you were diagnosed with an occupational illness or injured on the job in North Carolina. At The Bollinger Law Firm, our team assists North Carolina employees with workers’ compensation claims. We understand how overwhelming a work-related injury or illness can become, especially when you’re forced to take off work to heal.

To learn more about your eligibility or workers’ compensation laws in North Carolina, contact us today to schedule a case evaluation.

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