When A Work-Related Injury Happens Outside The Workplace
People often wonder: Does an injured worker have to be at their physical place of employment to qualify for a Workers’ Compensation claim?
Often, the claims process can be much smoother if an employee’s injury occurs at their place of work. For example, if you are injured in the office or factory of your employer, the question of whether or not you were actively working at the time of your injury is often much easier to answer.
However, there are circumstances when an employee is not “at work”, but “on the clock” and a Workers’ Compensation claim is valid. In fact, this comes up a lot with individuals who travel to job sites or travel to meet clients as part of their work.
It’s important to keep in mind that if an accident occurs during travel, the incident can be the basis for a Workers’ Compensation claim – even though the accident and injury did not occur on a work site.
Additionally, if an accident happens outside of a work site, you may have more than a Workers’ Compensation claim on your hands. Particularly if someone other than your employer is at fault for an accident outside of the workplace, you may be able to bring a separate personal injury claim against the at-fault party.
In this situation, you would have two separate claims of action happening at the same time. The first would be addressing the Workers’ Compensation claim that is concerned with this accident and injury that occurred while in the furtherance of your employer’s business. The second would address the personal injury claim against the at-fault party who caused the accident which injured you.
There are some interactions between these two cases that may somewhat limit your recovery. This is one of the many reasons it is so crucial to have a Workers’ Compensation attorney involved. Both so that you can be sure to maximize your benefits and manage any issues that would come up between the two cases.
What should you do if you believe you have a valid Workers’ Compensation claim in North Carolina?
If you believe that you have a Workers’ Compensation claim in North Carolina, it’s important to contact an attorney for a consultation as soon as possible. In your consultation, an attorney can:
- Evaluate the facts of your case,
- Determine the basis of your claim,
- Determine what steps will need to be taken to obtain your benefits,
- Explain the different directions that the case may take,
- Provide an overview of the process moving forward,
- Discuss potential strategies,
- And more…
Most importantly, your consultation can provide you with the opportunity to learn what to expect. If you are pursuing a Workers’ Compensation case, it’s likely you’ve suffered an injury that is affecting you in many ways. Between dealing with physical pain and missing work, it’s easy to feel stressed and unsure about your future. Whether or not you choose to work with an attorney, a consultation is a great start for the clarity that it can provide during an incredibly uncertain time.
Proving A Workers’ Compensation Claim
The majority of the evidence critical to these cases is based on the testimony of medical providers. If you have a medical provider who is willing to testify to the nature and form of your injuries, you are much more likely to find a favorable case outcome.
Some of the most important aspects of your provider’s testimony will include how the injury occurred, what medical treatment you have required, and how your injury has affected your ability to work.
Nearly any time that benefits are at issue or disputed in regards to a Workers’ Compensation claim, it has to do with an issue regarding medical evidence. The reason for this is that the North Carolina Industrial Commission can only receive evidence regarding these benefits from a medical provider.
But why is the testimony of a medical professional so important? Because the Industrial Commission knows that anytime benefits are in dispute in a Workers’ Compensation case, the employee and employer will testify to their own version of events.
Given that these cases are concerned with the nature and event of injuries, a medical professional is the premier source of testimony as it provides unbiased insight into the nature of the case at hand. Therefore, their testimony will provide the best source of information regarding lost time at work, the limitations of work-related activities, and the necessity of medical care in the future.
The Timeline of Filing Workers’ Compensation Cases
You may find yourself wondering, “How long do I have to file a claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits in North Carolina?”
The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act (Chapter 97 of the North Carolina General Statutes) is completely devoted to this area of the law and answering this exact question. More specifically, Chapter 97 includes a Statute of Limitations for these cases in Section 24.
(The Statute of Limitations is a legal term for the period of time within which a case must be brought forward. If you bring a case to the North Carolina Industrial Commission after the Statute of Limitations has elapsed, you will almost certainly have lost the right to have the case heard before the North Carolina Industrial Commission.)
In Workers’ Compensation matters, Chapter 97 Section 24 indicates that an official claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits must be filed with the North Carolina Industrial Commission within two years of that date of injury.
Occasionally, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if you are in a situation where you were receiving medical treatment during the two-year Statute of Limitations, your case may be eligible for a filing extension. However, this does not apply to every similar situation.
For more information Understanding NC Workers’ Compensation Claims, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (833)444-4127 today.