Workers’ compensation: A safety net

Workers’ compensation refers to benefits an employee may seek if injured on the job. It’s a kind of no-fault insurance meant to restore losses sustained by the employee, while at the same time protecting the employer from legal action.

Workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state. Pursuant to North Carolina’s workers’ compensation law, almost any injury that took place on the job may be covered. Occupational diseases may be covered as well.

Next actions for the injured employee

If you have a work-related injury or illness, it’s your responsibility to seek medical attention at once and promptly report the injury to your employer. You must:

  • Seek medical attention either from an on-site health provider, or designated health care provider for work-related injuries, or from a family physician or an emergency room.
  • Inform the health care provider that the injury is work-related and give the provider your employer’s name.
  • Within 30 days inform an appropriate individual at the work site that an accident has happened.
  • As soon as possible provide a written statement containing the date of the accident and a description of the injury (keeping a copy for your own records).
  • Follow physicians’ instructions precisely and thoroughly.

Things can go wrong

Sadly, the workers’ compensation safety net doesn’t always hold. Employers or insurance companies may attempt to reduce or deny workers’ compensation benefits. While dealing with physical recovery, injured workers might find themselves in the middle of what looks like litigation.

If things don’t go smoothly, it may be best to seek the help of a knowledgeable work injury attorney. These individuals know the system, are experienced negotiators, and will fight hard for the individual standing alone against powerful entities.

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