If you have recently been injured in a work-related accident in New Bern, North Carolina, you need to understand your rights and responsibilities as it relates to filing a claim. The vast majority of employers across North Carolina including those in New Bern are required to have workers’ compensation insurance, or to be qualified by the State of North Carolina as a self-insured employer to cover work-related injuries.
Whether you were injured on a construction site, on the job at BSH Home Appliances Corporation, Moen Inc., Weyerhaeuser or while working for any of the more than 2,000 businesses in Craven County, the right lawyer can help you figure out your rights.
How Workers’ Comp Helps Injured Employees in NC
A no-fault workers’ compensation system exists in North Carolina which means that as an employee you are not responsible for proving that an employer behaved negligently or carelessly in order to receive the benefits. There are many different types of benefits to which a New Bern workers’ compensation victim may be entitled, including:
- Permanent and temporary disability payments
- Necessary and reasonable medical care
- Injury compensation for amputation or lost body part
- Vocational rehabilitation services
Since a workplace accident can make it difficult or impossible for you to return to the position at which you were working prior to the accident, you need to understand the full scope of your rights prior to filing a claim.
How to File a New Bern Workers’ Compensation Claim
The first step involved in filing a workers’ compensation claim in New Bern is to notify your employer. It is strongly recommended that you do this in writing and immediately after the accident has occurred. If you failed to tell your employer about your accident and your intention to file a New Bern workers’ compensation claim within 30 days, you could lose access to your benefits. There are exceptions to the 30 day notice requirement, however, you may need a lawyer to help you if it has been more than 30 days.
You should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. If you are sent to a particular doctor or medical practice by your employer or the insurance adjuster, you may very well be concerned about the medical advice and treatment you are receiving. It may take a lawyer’s help to get the medical treatment or testing that you really need.
One thing to remember though, is that receiving medical treatment and reporting your work injury to your employer does not initiate a North Carolina workers’ compensation claim. The claim only begins when you file a notice of accident to employer and claim of employee Form 18 with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. A copy of that form should also be provided to your employer. Your New Bern workers’ compensation claim has to be filed no later than two years after your workplace injury, although there are exceptions in certain circumstances.
Time Limits for a New Bern Workers’ Comp Claim
If your illness or injury has developed over time, you must file your claim within two years of becoming incapable of the earning wages you were receiving at the time of your incapacity and you have been informed by competent medical authority of the nature and work related causes of your illness or injury, whichever occurs later. The stages of a North Carolina workers’ compensation claim after you have submitted it involve a copy being sent to your workers’ compensation administrator or employer’s insurance company.
An insurance company must inform you about approval or denial of your New Bern workers’ compensation claim no later than 14 days after your claim has been received. However, insurance adjusters often ignore this requirement. Many people who have valid workers’ compensation claims will find that their benefits request is denied immediately.
Having an experienced New Bern workers’ compensation attorney to assist you with this process and navigating the complex appeals procedure can be extremely beneficial. You may still be able to recover benefits for your claims.
If your claim is approved immediately and you cannot work due to your injury, you will begin getting disability payments and other benefits. If that does not happen, you do have the right to an appeal and it is strongly recommended that you consult with an attorney who is a Board Certified Specialist in workers’ compensation law.