Workers’ Compensation: Frequently Asked Questions Part II
Not all “on the job” injuries are covered by North Carolina workers’ compensation. An injury must result from an unexpected accident that happens while the employee is acting within the “course and scope” of his or her employment.
- “Course and scope” of employment means that the employee is acting within the time, place and circumstances of what they are employed to do at the time of the accident. This inquiry generally looks at the following questions:
- Was the employee in the place they usually perform their work?
- Did the accident occur at a time the employee usually performs work?
- Was the employee performing the work for which they are hired when the accident occurred?
If the accident causing injury is too far removed from the employee’s course and scope of employment, it will not be considered a valid workers’ comp claim. However, if you think you may have a workers’ comp claim or are not sure, speak to one of the workers’ compensation attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC to ensure that you don’t miss out on a potential claim.
The NC Workers’ Compensation Act requires almost all employers that regularly employ three or more regular employees to either carry workers’ compensation insurance. Under the Act, it does not matter whether the employees are full or part time, seasonal workers, or family members. In addition, most temporary workers are considered employees under NC workers’ comp law.
Workers’ comp cannot be waived for a qualified employer in North Carolina even with a written agreement.
- Independent contractors: An independent contractor is a person in an independent profession or trade who provides work pursuant to an oral or written agreement. Employers are not usually required to give workers’ comp insurance to independent contractors, although there are some exceptions. Whether or not a person counts as an independent contractor or an employee under North Carolina’s workers comp law depends on a number of factors, but usually comes down to the level of control the employer exercises over the person’s work. Sometimes an employer will misclassify their employees as independent contractors so as to avoid paying workers’ comp and payroll taxes. In this case and many others, it is important to speak with an experienced workers’ comp attorney who can help fight for your right to receive compensation.
- Medical treatment: Either your employer or their workers’ compensation insurance company must pay for medical treatment to relieve your pain and cure your injury regardless of whether or not you have to miss work. Medical treatment will be provided for the injured body part and other medical conditions that are a direct, natural consequence of the injury.
- Lost wages/”temporary disability”: If an employee must be out of work for a period while on doctor’s orders, workers’ comp provides temporary full disability payments in the form of weekly checks for two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage. The first seven days the employee misses work is typically a “waiting period” where no check is issued, and checks begin weekly after that. The employee can receive the check for the “waiting period” once they have had to miss work for 21 days. If the employee can return to their job part-time while they are healing, they can receive a partial workers’ comp check in supplement to their part-time paycheck.
- Permanent disability, if applicable
Employees should file their workers’ comp claim within 30 days of the injury, but a failure to do so may not be the end of the case. Speaking with an experienced workers’ comp attorney as soon as possible after a work accident will help ensure that you do not miss out on benefits to which you are entitled.
The dedicated workers’ comp attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are ready to step in and handle dealing with your employer, the insurance company, and the North Carolina Industrial Commission (the organization that handles workers’ comp claims). Whether you are not sure you have a claim, your employer is saying you are not covered by workers’ comp, or your claim is denied, our attorneys are ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact our office today for a consultation with one of our workers’ comp attorneys.