There are two critical things that an individual must make sure they do when they’re injured at work.
1. Provide some type of notice of the accident and injury to the employer.
The workers’ compensation law in North Carolina requires that an individual notify their employer of their injury within 30 days of it occurring. The notice can be verbal or in writing. It’s recommended that you put your notice in writing, such as by sending an email or completing an accident report, so that there is a record of it. That can be documentation that can never be called into question. Verbal notice is sufficient if you’re unable to submit written notice. A co-worker witnessing the incident may also provide notice to the employer.
2. File an official claim for workers’ compensation benefits with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
You file an official claim via a Form 18. A Form 18 will list the individual’s information, their employer’s information, and the workers’ compensation insurance company’s information. That form will also note the date of injury and allow the individual to provide a description of what occurred at work, as well as list any injuries.
When a Form 18 is filed with the North Carolina Industrial Commission, three things will happen
1. Form 18 will impart jurisdiction for the Industrial Commission to handle any potential issues moving forward in regard to that work-related injury.
2. Filing that claim tolls or stops a two-year statute of limitations.
Anytime that an injury occurs at work, the individual must file their claim for benefits within two years of the date of injury. It’s recommended that you file as soon as possible to avoid any issues moving forward with your claim.
3. Once the claim for benefits has been filed, the North Carolina Industrial Commission will mail a letter to the employer and their insurance company to request a formal response.
This letter will allow the employer’s insurance company to issue a formal response no more than 30 days from the date of the letter. The formal response that the employer and insurance company is sending back to the Industrial Commission is, in essence, what sets the stage for what legal rights that individual has and what actions they can take.
An employer has the following options when formally responding to the Industrial Commission:
- Accept liability,
- Deny liability, or
- Indicate that they’re simply paying medical benefits without prejudice.
When the employer indicates that they’re paying medical benefits without prejudice, they are preserving their right to deny the case in the future.
The sooner the claim is filed, the sooner that an individual can…
- Receive a response,
- Understand their rights,
- Know what actions they can take, and
- Reach out to an attorney to get further advice.
For more information on Injuries Not Covered By Workers Comp Laws, an initial consultation is your next best step.