Workers’ compensation protects employees who become injured or ill while working at their job. The process and criteria to help calculate a final workers’ compensation settlement can be complicated. Nevertheless, it is critical to understand it so that no one tries to minimize the full amount that could be awarded. For an extra layer of protection, a North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer can supervise the entire process and interject in any instances of unlawful conduct.
Factors That Influence Settlement Amounts
A final workers’ compensation settlement in North Carolina is a financial agreement between an injured worker and their employer’s insurance. It helps provide funding for their recovery and ensures that their livelihood is not damaged due to the incident. This settlement can typically come in either a lump sum, or it will be structured into a series of payments, depending on the agreement.
Some of the most influential factors that influence the final settlement amount include:
The total amount that treatment to restore the individual’s health will cost is the largest factor that will influence a settlement’s figure. This will include:
- How much the hospital charges for each service
- The cost of medication
- Any expenses from the use of medical equipment
- If there is a need for any ongoing treatment, like physical therapy or rehab
Wage Replacement Benefits
Because an individual is unable to perform their typical work duties while recovering from the injury, the money they are losing from not working is an additional consideration that is used to determine a settlement amount. The wage replacement will be based on a portion of the employee’s average weekly pay that was already in place before the injury occurred. In North Carolina, the rate is typically two-thirds of the individual’s weekly rate.
The duration of these checks will depend on the length of the treatment needed before the individual is able to return to work.
Permanent Partial Disability
If the work injury has resulted in a permanent disability, the final settlement will likely include additional PPD benefits. The amount is determined by looking into which body part has been affected by the injury and the extent of its impairment. The fewer alternative career options that exist due to the injury, the higher the portion of PPD funds added to the settlement will likely be.
Sometimes, an individual’s injuries can be treated in rehab to open up their future career possibilities. These vocational rehabilitation programs can be expensive, but they could be included in a final workers’ compensation settlement. This can cover rehab costs and add more potential job options for the injured individual in the future.
Severity and Duration of the Injury
A general rule of workers’ compensation settlements is that quick recovery periods will result in lower settlements, while long-lasting injuries are expected to be awarded with more money. Any chronic conditions that have developed from the workplace incident can be covered long-term. Having a Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Lawyer review the details of the compensation package before accepting it can help ensure that the duration of the award is as long as possible.
Q: Does Workers’ Compensation Pay for Pain and Suffering in North Carolina?
A: No, the workers’ compensation system in North Carolina does not allow for pain and suffering claims to be added to a final settlement award. It will primarily cover medical expenses, the cost of rehabilitation, and a specific portion of lost wages due to the injury taking the individual away from work.
While there is no room to achieve pain and suffering compensation through this avenue, that possibility does exist through a personal injury claim. This is additional support that your workers’ compensation attorney can provide in addition to supervising the process of your workers’ compensation claim.
Q: Can You Choose Your Own Doctor for a Workers’ Comp Claim in NC?
A: If you will use funds from a workers’ compensation claim to seek medical treatment, then you must use a medical provider that has been pre-selected by your employer or is covered under their own insurance.
If an employee is dissatisfied with the quality of care they receive, there is the possibility they can request a change of physician. This type of request will be made directly to the North Carolina Industrial Commission, which will look into the merits of the request and either approve or deny it, based on its findings.
Q: Are All Employees Covered in North Carolina by Workers’ Comp?
A: The majority of employees in North Carolina are covered by the workers’ compensation system. However, some exceptions do exist. For example, any employer who has three or more employees is required to have this insurance, while those who have less are not.
Additionally, there are certain types of workers who are not required to have coverage, such as independent contractors, certain agricultural workers, and even some domestic workers. It’s important to understand whether your employer is required to have workers’ compensation prior to accepting employment. You should also know exactly how and when to act if an injury happens on the job.
Q: What Happens If a Worker Fails to Report an Injury in Time in North Carolina?
A: It is critical for workers to report any injuries that are related to their job immediately. North Carolina law states that injuries must be reported within 30 days of their occurrence. If the employee neglects to do this, it could lead to a denial of workers’ compensation benefits when they do try to seek financial support.
Once the injury is reported directly to their employer, a formal claim must be filed with the North Carolina Industrial Commission within two years of the injury to receive benefits. To avoid any missed deadlines or risk of not receiving as much compensation as possible, connect with a Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as the injury happens.
Contact M. Reid Acree, Jr., Attorney at Law, Today
If you need assistance with a workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina, contact our office in Salisbury today. We understand how much there is to manage as you begin receiving treatment for your injury, which is why we can step in and handle the legal responsibilities of your claim.