Workers’ Compensation is a form of insurance for employees who become injured due to work-related reasons. If you have suffered a work-related injury, it is essential to understand the workers’ compensation system in North Carolina and navigate the claims process. This blog post will discuss the critical steps in filing a workers’ compensation claim and how Grimes Yeoman can help.
Step 1: Report the Injury
The first step in filing workers’ compensation claims is to report the injury to your employer. You should report the damage within 30 days of the accident. Failure to notify the injury within 30 days may result in your claim being denied. You will need to use a Form 18 Report of Injury, the official form used to report a work-related injury, and mail it to the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC). All current workers’ compensation forms can be downloaded from the NCIC website. It is important to review and follow the instructions on the website for filing. It is very important that a Form 18 is filed with the NCIC since failure to do so will mean that your claim has NOT been filed. Your employer should file a Form 19 upon notice of your work injury. The Form 19 is the official form used by the employer to report a work-related injury, but the Form 19 is not the filing of your claim; it is the Employer’s side of the paperwork. Remember, it is very important to file a Form 18, the employee’s report of Injury, to preserve your claim and rights of recovery. You will need to keep a copy of all documentation regarding your injury for records.
Step 2: Seek Medical Treatment
After reporting the injury to your employer, seek medical treatment. Make sure to inform the healthcare provider that your injury is work-related, as they may need to complete a Form 25 to document the treatment. You will need to be careful to describe your injury accurately. Just because you felt pain at work does not mean the injury is compensable under workers’ compensation. An injury is compensable if it arises from an accident occurring in the normal scope of your job duties. Generally, this means a trip, slip, or fall while you are on the clock. Keep copies of all medical bills and documents related to your treatment, as these will be necessary when filing your claim.
Step 3: File a Claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission
To receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must file your Form 18 documenting your claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC)within two years of the date of the injury, and failure to do so is a usual bar to recovery. Also, the commission requires the Form 18 to be filed within 30 days of the accident; however, there are exceptions to the 30-day requirement, such as lack of prejudice to the employer since they were of your injury. The 2-year filing requirement for filing a Form 18 is a firm deadline, except for nonapparent injuries or a latent occupational disease diagnosed later. An example of this exception is a claim for the development of Mesothelioma Cancer from asbestos exposure.
Step 4: Follow Treatment Recommendations by your Physician
It is very important to comply with the treatment recommendations of your physician. For example, failing to attend physical therapy appointments could terminate your weekly compensation checks. If surgery is recommended, you are entitled to a second opinion. You usually cannot be forced to have surgery if you have fears of an adverse outcome, but certainly, failure to obtain treatment that could improve your condition is a factor that could reduce the amount of compensation you receive.
Step 5: Attend Mediation
After filing a claim with the NCIC, you may be required to attend mediation. Mediation is a process where you and your employer will attempt to resolve any disputes related to your claim. A mediator will be present to help facilitate the discussion and guide both parties toward a resolution.
Step 6: Attend a Hearing
If mediation is unsuccessful, your claim may proceed to a hearing. A hearing is a formal proceeding where an NCIC deputy commissioner will hear evidence from you and your employer and decide on your claim. It is essential to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney like Grimes Yeoman by your side to represent you during the hearing.
Navigating North Carolina workers’ compensation system can be complex and overwhelming, especially when dealing with a work-related injury. Our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys in Mooresville, NC, can help you understand your rights and navigate the claims process. For information on what to do immediately following a workplace injury, check out our blog post on “Workplace Injuries: What Should I Do if I’m Injured on the Job?” and learn how to protect yourself and your future. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.