Most North Carolina residents who suffer a work-related injury or illness will be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Residents of the Charlotte area should bear in mind that injuries and illness can develop over time and still be work-related; they need not be the result of a dramatic or sudden workplace accident, although they certainly can be.
For example, workers do suffer significant injuries from the strain of repetitive motion or from long-term exposure to toxins.
Workers’ compensation benefits including medical payments and lost wages
Some good news about workers’ compensation benefits is that they are awarded on what is called a no-fault basis. This means that a worker does not have to prove the employer was careless before collecting compensation.
The tradeoff is that the worker ordinarily will not be able to sue an employer which has arranged to provide these benefits.
The worker is also limited to the medical payments and lost wages which the workers’ compensation program pays. Workers’ compensation does not include non-economic losses like emotional distress or pain and suffering.
Benefits include coverage for necessary medical expenses that are due to the work-related illness or injury.
For so long as he or she is off work recovering, workers’ compensation also includes payment of up to 66 2/3% of the worker’s weekly wage, although this percentage is subject to a cap.
There are additional benefits available if a worker’s injury or illness causes permanent damage such that he or she cannot go back to work or cannot earn the same level of income as he or she could before the injury.
While the system is supposed to compensation North Carolina workers efficiently so they can start re-building their lives after an illness or injury, this is too often not the case in practice.
Sometimes, a worker will need the assistance of a legal professional who will help the worker get all the workers’ compensation benefits to which he or she is entitled.