Navigating the complexities of workers’ compensation in North Carolina can be an extremely daunting task, especially when trying to understand what types of damages could be covered. Fortunately, a North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney can help guide you through this system to secure the benefits that meet your specific needs.
One of the most frequently asked questions in regard to work-related injuries is if workers’ compensation will pay for pain and suffering incidents. By better understanding North Carolina’s workers’ compensation law and how it interconnects with pain and suffering events, employees can better identify when they may qualify for compensation.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina
The system of workers’ compensation was created to help assure employees that their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will help financially support their recovery process if they are injured or become ill at work. It can be seen as a form of insurance that provides wage replacement and medical benefits to those who are unable to work during treatment. This system is classified as a “no-fault system,” which means that employees are not obligated to prove that their employer was at fault to begin receiving these benefits.
Coverage Under Workers’ Comp in North Carolina
Workers’ compensation in North Carolina primarily covers medical expenses at first. This ensures that any medication, treatment, and rehabilitation programs are paid for by the system, rather than putting the additional financial burden on the individual, who should rather be focused on recovering.
The program also provides wage replacement benefits, which can provide either the full amount or a portion of the individual’s income while they are unable to work. These two areas alone are major benefits that help the individual maintain their own livelihood during the recovery period.
In any case where the injuries are so severe that it has led to permanent disability, workers’ compensation can also provide long-term support. It can also help cover special vocational rehabilitation services to help injured workers develop new skills and capabilities. These can later be applied to a different type of job that they would be able to perform with their new physical limitations.
Is Pain and Suffering Covered?
When someone refers to ‘pain and suffering’ in the context of a workplace injury, they are describing the physical discomfort or emotional distress that has also resulted directly from the injuries. As of 2023, North Carolina workers’ compensation does not cover pain and suffering under the law. This means that while employees are able to seek financial relief for medical treatment and lost wages, they cannot formally seek additional financial support for the emotional or psychological toll that the injury may have caused.
One of the main reasons why pain and suffering is excluded is due to the nature of the system itself. Workers’ compensation is specifically designed to streamline the process of getting workers the help they need as soon as they need it.
Adding the element of pain and suffering would not expedite the process, as it would require a number of subjective assessments to evaluate the nature of the pain and suffering. It would also take time to determine whether it would fall under specific guidelines that could qualify for compensation.
However, if an individual chooses to pursue an injury claim outside of the compensation system, they may have the option to include pain and suffering as part of their claim. This is a separate legal process and is not part of the workers’ compensation system, which is why the possibility exists. To assess the feasibility of acquiring this extra financial support in a personal injury claim, connect with a Salisbury Workers’ Compensation Lawyer.
Q: Does Workers’ Comp Pay for Time Off for Physical Therapy in NC?
A: Yes, the workers’ compensation program in North Carolina does cover time needed off for physical therapy sessions. This is only in instances when the injury is directly related to the work incident. It would be unlawful to receive government-funded physical therapy sessions for a pre-existing condition that existed before the workplace injury event.
To ensure that your physical therapy sessions qualify under workers’ compensation, validate with your attorney that the healthcare provider is authorized and part of an approved treatment plan to guarantee your coverage.
Q: How Is Permanent Partial Disability Calculated in NC?
A: There is a specific formula that helps calculate the permanent partial disability benefit. The formula takes into consideration what parts of the body have been affected by the injury, how severe the injuries are, and how much money the employee was earning before the injuries took place.
The state has also established predetermined values based on different types of injuries, known as impairment ratings. Between the impairment rating and the employee’s wage, these factors combined will help calculate the exact partial disability award.
Q: How Do You Calculate a Settlement Offer?
A: A final settlement offer is calculated through several different variables, including:
- How much the medical treatment for recovery costs
- If any future medical needs exist
- The amount of wages that were lost
- If there is any potential for permanent disability
The settlement also takes into consideration a healthcare professional’s opinion on whether there is a strong chance that ongoing medical issues might reoccur, as this might require the individual to step away from work again for treatment. As with any legal case, the attorney’s negotiation skills, coupled with the quality of evidence, will also affect how high a final settlement offer can go.
Q: Can You Appeal a Workers’ Comp Decision in North Carolina?
A: Yes, there are avenues where it is perfectly legal to appeal a workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina. When your original claim is denied, and you and your attorney agree that it should not have been, you have the right to appeal the decision with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
The process of this appeal will involve a number of different hearings to reevaluate the evidence and for the decision-makers to hear your new position as to why the decision should be reversed. Because this is the final possibility to receive economic relief, it’s highly recommended to navigate this part of the process with your employment law attorney.
Contact M. Reid Acree, Jr., Attorney at Law, Today
If you need assistance pursuing a workers’ compensation claim, contact our office in Salisbury today. We recognize how much stress you are under, which is why we work hard to pursue as much financial support as possible under the workers’ compensation system in North Carolina.