The typical worker’s compensation case varies depending upon the facts of the case. Usually the employee is injured on the job by an accident.
Step #1 – Report the Injury to Your Employer
This is usually done immediately after the accident or within a few days of the accident. At times the employee will try to “tough out” the injury and not officially report the injury and hope that within a few days he or she has recovered from the injury. This is why it is important to notify your employer of an injury immediately, even if you believe it is a minor injury. You will need to be able to prove that your injury occurred when you are saying it did. Try to have a witness (co-worker) verify when you were injured. Do not wait several days after the injury to report the injury. Your employer’s insurance company could claim you were injured at home, since you did not report the injury at work, and deny your claim. Your employer should fill out a Form 18 for you to report your injury. However, if they don’t you will need to complete a Form 18 and submit it to the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
Step #2 – Receive a Medical Evaluation
Your employer will send you to physician to determine the extent of your injuries. The physician will then determine if you are able to return to work or if your injury is severe enough not to allow you to return to work, or allow you to return to work with limited restrictions on what you can or cannot do at work.
In the event you cannot return to work, and you are sent home to recover, you should receive approximately 66% of your normal weekly paycheck. You may remain at home for several days or up to several years depending upon the severity of your injuries.
Step #3 – Complete Medical Treatment
Follow the doctor’s orders and complete the treatment that they have set up for you. If you don’t agree with the treatment schedule the doctor has set up you may ask to get a second opinion. Regardless, it is important that you closely follow the treatment plan set out by your doctors.
Step #4 – Receive Maximum Medical Improvement Percentage / Rating
Once you have received all the possible treatment for your injury you would have reached “maximum medical improvement”. This is when the physicians have done all they can do to improve your condition from you injury. Eventually the physician treating you will evaluate you and assign you a “disability rating” based upon the permanent disability due to the injury.
Step #5 – Begin Fair Settlement Negotiations
After receiving a maximum medical improvement, we will begin negotiations with your employer’s insurance carrier for a fair settlement for you. These negotiations can be done in several weeks or it could take several months depending upon your health condition and the insurance company stubbornness to pay you a fair amount for your injury.
Step #6 – Bring Your Case in Front of the North Carolina Industrial Commission
If you and the insurance company cannot reach a fair settlement, the case is assigned to a deputy commissioner with the North Carolina Industrial Commission (The Worker’s Compensation Board). The deputy commissioner is similar to a judge and he/she will hear the evidence at a hearing and rule upon your case.
Want To See Our Other Frequently Asked Workers’ Compensation Questions?
If you are like most people who have been injured at work you probably have a lot of questions about the entire workers’ compensation process. Questions like how much your case is worth, whether you can sue your employer, how long your case will last and other common questions. To try to help answer these and many other questions we have put together our frequently asked workers’ compensation questions page. Check it out – we think you’ll find it helpful!