Going to work when you are ill or injured does nothing but lower your productivity. An injured worker is a danger to other workers. There is always the chance you will not be able to handle dangerous equipment and materials safely, increasing risk to yourself and to others. Or your illness may be contagious.
For everyone’s benefit, it may be best that you miss work. Once upon a time, this meant lost wages as well. However, North Carolina has workers’ compensation laws that make provisions for employees who are injured, disabled or become sick due to work conditions.
The law makes it clear that an employer must pay workers entitled to compensation directly and regularly. The first payment usually becomes due 14 days after the employer files an official notice of the injury and the insurance company concedes the worker’s entitlement to workers’ compensation.
It is not always smooth sailing for an injured worker though. Sometimes the employer and insurance company may refuse to recognize your claim to workers’ compensation. This places an employee in a precarious position. Medical bills are probably piling up in addition to not being able to earn a living.
An employer can either deny the claim immediately or continue making payments as they investigate your workers’ compensation claim. In the latter case, employers ordinarily have 90 days within which to complete their investigations.
Either way, when the checks stop coming your employer must notify you immediately. The notice must give a clear, specific explanation why your employer will not compensate you. Employers are also obligated to notify the state industrial commission of the denial. You reserve the right to appeal to the North Carolina Industrial Commission once you receive your notice.
Even if your employer does not dispute your right to workers’ compensation benefits, other problems may arise. If payments are late, your employer may have to pay additional penalties.
Getting the help of a workers’ compensation attorney in North Carolina may help you understand the process and your options. The advice provided is general in nature and may not apply to every individual case.