Throughout the country, there are a specific set of rules that govern how claims made by people injured on the job are handled. Workers’ Compensation laws are intrinsically different from laws governing other types of personal injury. Many times work related injuries intersect with negligence of third parties, as do the rules under which these different types of claims fall. It is important for injured workers to seek the guidance of an attorney experienced in all types of injury claims.
Workers’ compensation is a legal system established to manage medical and disability benefits available to people injured on the job, whether by accident or as a result of disease related to their occupation. In our state, on the job injuries are governed by the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act through the North Carolina Industrial Commission. The Act’s stated purpose is to provide “swift and certain” remedy to injured workers. This differs from other types of injury compensation claims in that workers do not have to prove that their employer was at fault in any way, only that their injury occurred during the course and scope of their employment.
There are several types of workers’ compensation benefits falling into two categories: medical compensation and disability. Medical compensation covers an injured worker for necessary medical costs, including hospitalization, surgery, doctor visits and medications, as well as mileage reimbursement for travel incurred in acquiring medical care. Where catastrophic injury is concerned, medical compensation may also include nursing and attendant care.
Disability benefits, on the other hand, are payments made directly to the worker for lost wages or permanent impairment. Disability payments are made at the rate of two-thirds of the worker’s wages prior to injury for the period a person is unable to work. Sometimes, injured workers are able to return to jobs with lower pay scales before they are able to return to full duty. In this event, an injured worker is entitled to temporary total disability payments (TTD), which are equal to two-thirds of the difference between pre-and post injury wages. Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits are for injured workers suffering permanent injury. These benefits are based on a permanent impairment rating assigned by an injured worker’s treating physician. Total and Permanent Disability is available to workers who cannot return to work, as are death benefits for families of workers who are victim to fatal work-related accidents.
Rules governing recovery under the workers’ compensation law is a complex process. Our workers’ compensation lawyers are seasoned litigators and experienced negotiators. They can help you navigate the process of acquiring benefits, as well as in other personal injury or negligence actions that may evolve from your accident. We bring more than 50 years of cumulative legal experience to clients in Western North Carolina. Attorney Kim Carpenter has been representing workers injured on the job since 1996. If you have been injured in a workplace accident, or have acquired a disease or medical condition secondary to your employment, call Kim for your consultation today.