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How do I pursue a workers' compensation claim in North Carolina?

The procedure for filing a workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina is a series of events that require notifications, the filing of necessary standard forms and meeting certain time restrictions. This post reviews, in general, how the benefit claim process works.

For an employee claiming an on-the-job injury, the first step is to notify the employer of the injury within 30 days of its occurrence. This should be done in writing as well as orally.

The next step will be to file a Form 18 with the employer. When an employee has been injured on the job, the employer must send that form to the North Carolina Industrial Commission with its own Form 19. If the employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, or does not report the injury to the Commission, then the employee may file the Form 18 directly to the Commission.

At this point the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer will make its decision whether to approve the benefits claim. If it refuses to approve, it must state the precise reason or reasons why and provide that decision in writing on a Form 61 to the employee and the Commission.

If this happens, the employee will need to decide whether to request the Commission to send the dispute to a mediated settlement conference, using Form 33.

As you can see, workers’ compensation claims require specific paperwork to properly initiate the processing of the claim. But the forms mentioned above are not the only ones that may apply. One example is that a claim that involves a lung disease injury requires a variation of Form 18.  

As an injured worker, you need your claim to be handled quickly and accurately. Although it is possible to begin and manage the claim process on your own, an attorney who works with workers’ compensation claims can help injured workers navigate the process and avoid costly mistakes. From the time statement is given to the insurance company through the completion of payment, having the guidance and experience of an attorney can help injured workers collect the compensation they need and deserve.    


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