Health Care

What is the process to obtain benefits for my injury at work?

Workers Compentation

What is the process to obtain benefits for my injury at work?

Any time someone is injured at work, the first thing you need to do is report the injury to your employer. This notice of injury may be reported to the employer verbally or in writing. Although you can provide verbal notice of any injury to your employer, I always recommend written notice of the injury to the employer so that there is documentation of the reported injury to the employer. This written notice can be via a letter to the employer or can be provided via completing an accident report for the employer.

The report of injury to the employer should be provided within 30 days of the date of injury. Although the injured worker has 30 days to report the injury, I always recommend reporting the injury to the employer as soon as possible, preferable on the same date that the injury occurred.

When reporting the injury to the employer, describe exactly what occurred on the date of injury. Provide as many details about how the injury as possible to avoid questions about the events leading to the work injury. Many times, the decision by the employer or workers’ compensation insurance carrier to accept or deny benefits are based on how the injured worker described the accident.

You need to make sure an official claim for workers’ compensation benefits has been filed with the N.C. Industrial Commission. The official claim for benefits needs to filed within 2 years of the date of injury in order to avoid Statute of Limitation issues. Although you have 2 years to file your official claim for benefits with the N.C. Industrial Commission, I recommend filing the official claim for benefits as soon as possible. If there are questions about information to include for the official claim for benefits, I recommend the injured speak with an attorney, even if they do not plan to hire the attorney, in order to confirm that they are filing the appropriate forms and information with the N.C. Industrial Commission.

Once the official claim for benefits has been filed, the N. C. Industrial Commission will issue an acknowledgement letter to the employer and workers’ compensation insurance carrier noting that an official claim for workers’ compensation benefits has been filed and requiring the employer or workers’ compensation insurance carrier for the employer to respond to the N.C. Industrial Commission within 30 days of the date of the letter, noting acceptance of liability for the injury, denial of liability for the injury or an agreement to provide conditional payments of benefits while the employer or workers’ compensation insurance carrier investigate the claim in order to official accept or deny liability for the injury.

If the employer or workers’ compensation insurance carrier for the employer accepts liability for the claim, then the injured worker can receive compensation for both medical treatment and lost time from work due to the injury at work. If the employer or workers’ compensation insurance carrier for the employer denies liability for the claim, then the only way for the injured worker to obtain benefits is a hearing process before the N.C. Industrial Commission. If the employer or workers’ compensation insurance carrier for the employer only agrees to provide conditional payments of benefits while the employer or workers’ compensation insurance carrier investigates the claim in order to officially accept or deny liability for the injury, then actions can be take to force a formal acceptance or denial of the claim or the injured worker can allow for the conditional payments of benefits while the employer or workers’ compensation insurance carrier investigate the claim in order to official accept or deny liability for the injury.

As you can see, obtaining benefits for an injury at work is not always an easy process and can involve many steps, which are critical in assuring the insured worker receives those possible benefits owed due to the injury at work. Based on this I recommend that an injured worker call and obtain advice about this process in order to assure they are undergoing all the necessary steps to be able to obtain those possible benefits owed due to the injury at work.

If there are ever any questions about this process or if you may need assistance regarding this process you are always welcome to call Cardinal Law Partners and speak with one of our board certified workers’ compensation specialists.