In this article, you will learn about:
- The most common types of workers’ compensation cases handled by our firm.
- How the timing and places of injuries affect workers’ compensation coverage.
- What factors may lead to your workers’ compensation claim denial.
What Industries And Sectors Are Covered By Workers’ Comp Law?
It is very likely that you will be covered by Workers’ Comp Law if you are an employee in North Carolina. Independent contractors are not covered, nor are businesses that only employ one or two people. The law clearly states that if you’re an employer with three or more employees, you’re required to have workers’ compensation. If your business doesn’t have workers’ compensation, it may face some individual liabilities as a result. Given these requirements, most employers possess workers’ comp coverage- even the ones that aren’t statutorily required to often get the coverage themselves as the risk of not being protected is too great.
The sectors with the most consistent coverage are often in the medical field. Medical workers such as nurses (RNs and CNAs) are frequently put in difficult situations with long and arduous shifts resulting in injuries involving their backs and shoulders. Likewise, a truck driver driving long days on the road, shifting freight in the back of their trucks, among other similar physical activity tends to make up a large percentage of workers’ compensation injuries. Warehouse workers and delivery drivers (such as UPS and FedEx) are often in need of workers’ compensation due to the physically demanding nature of their occupations.
North Carolina is famous for various manufacturing industries such as textiles, furniture, and even aerospace materials. Machine operators and fabricators in these sectors quite often have health problems because of the physical stress that their jobs entail. Injuries are not specific to just hands-on industrial work, even people who work from their computers at home can get injured.
As an example, our firm recently represented a woman who works in the newspaper industry as a proofreader. She was trying to get print copy approved when, right before finishing her review, she fell off her chair after her feet got caught in the wheels in her own home. Because she was working at the time of her accident, she had a viable workers’ compensation case, even though she was working from her own home and was not injured while at a typical office.
Something key to note is that if you’re on the job (whether it be in a factory or at your own house), it is very likely that you are covered as long as you’re working for an employer with a history of 3 or more employees.
This is information that is vital to remember when talking about independent contractors’ coverage. It doesn’t matter whether or not you are employed on a 1099 basis or what you have been told about your coverage by your employer – these factors are often irrelevant in workers’ compensation cases.
Instead, there are around seven different factors that are looked at to determine whether or not you’re an employee. These factors don’t have to do with your title – because if, for example, an employer gives you a uniform and tools, you typically can’t perform work for other people or companies. If you fit under factors such as these, you are likely to be considered an employee when it comes to your worker’s comp case.
The best way to determine your employment status is to speak with an attorney who specializes in worker’s compensation cases. There are many instances in which a person will be misled by their employers to believe that they are ineligible for workers’ compensation. These efforts are typically made by employers in an effort to avoid payment in these cases, and it is absolutely inappropriate.
To avoid losing out on benefits you are eligible for, contact an attorney who can work with you on your case and advise you on what the path forward may look like. Our firm recognizes that workers need proper legal representation, and we always make sure that when we make a commitment to offering council, we believe in the case 100%, enabling us to do the best possible job we can.
When Does An Injury Arise Out Of Employment As It Relates To A Workers’ Comp Injury Case?
It is clear that in order to have a compensable claim in North Carolina, your injury has to be a result of your employment. Simply put: you must have sustained an injury while performing your work duties. Additionally, you may be eligible for coverage if your work duties put you at an increased risk of being injured. To be clear, if you have a heart attack or a stroke and it has is not associated with your work activities, it is likely not covered. The same thing is true if you’re going to or returning from work and are injured. You would not be covered in this case because the work hasn’t started yet or has already ended, so you are no longer under their coverage. That being said, there are some exceptions to these types of scenarios involving employees such as traveling nurses or truck drivers.
It is important to know that there are various exceptions for coverage called the “Coming and Going Rule”. This often has to do with where you were precisely at the time of your injury, and if your employer controls the premises. The general rule of thumb is that in order to have a covered workers’ comp claim, it must arise from the work. People can have medical issues that may have just occurred while they were at work, but that is not enough. The work has to be some contributing factor to why they got hurt or had the medical issue in the first place. If you were hurt at work and you’re not sure if you are covered, there are many different exceptions and complicated laws that you shouldn’t dismiss regarding the possibility of you being hurt at work. Talking to an attorney to go through your situation and help determine whether or not your case is eligible for workman’s compensation is a critical way to understand the reality of your circumstances.
It is important to keep in mind exemptions that arise in situations where a worker is on break on the premises and is injured. In these cases, the claim may be denied because the employee was not “actively working” at the time of the injury. Even if a carrier says your injury didn’t arise because of employment and denies coverage, call a lawyer and ask them to help analyze the case law. Very often in these cases people are denied proper coverage for their workplace injuries and it may be possible to find a better outcome with the assistance of an attorney. Our firm stands with you and your situation, and we prioritize finding you the proper compensation for your injury. For more information on Workers’ Comp cases in North Carolina, an initial consultation is your next best step.