No Attorney Fee Unless You Win

What Is the Employer’s Responsibility When a Worker Is Injured in North Carolina?

Thu Apr 4th, by Work Injury |

In North Carolina, the Workers’ Compensation Insurance program and the state Industrial Commission that oversees it provide crucial benefits to injured workers. However, the system only works when everyone involved acts in accordance with the law, and each party has unique responsibilities in that regard. So, just what is the employer’s responsibility when a worker is injured in North Carolina, and where does a Charlotte worker come in?

As it turns out, employers have several responsibilities, and an employer’s actions are key to the timely and successful resolution of any workers’ compensation claim. On the other hand, inaction (or deliberate malfeasance) on the part of an employer can derail a claim, calling for the intervention of a skilled Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer to ensure that the injured worker receives their rightful benefits.

When a North Carolinian worker is injured on the job, it’s important for them to understand the legal obligations and responsibilities that fall on their employer so that they can feel confident their claim is making progress towards a successful resolution. The procedures and protocols making up the state’s workers’ comp laws provide a robust framework that protects both injured workers and their employers.

Understanding The NC Workers’ Compensation Act: A Powerful Tool for Injured Workers

In North Carolina, the Workers’ Compensation Act is a vital piece of legislation designed to safeguard the rights, interests, health, and safety of working people in the state by providing critical financial (and other) benefits to North Carolinians who suffer injuries or illnesses in the course of their work.

Notably, the Workers’ Compensation Act sets up a mandatory no-fault insurance system to guarantee the funding and efficient administration of these benefits. The vast majority of businesses are required to provide workers’ compensation. The full text of the act is substantial at around 100 printed pages, and the legal minutiae is complex. The main thing to understand is that the act ensures injured workers can receive necessary medical treatments and much-needed financial compensation in the aftermath of a work-related injury, regardless of fault.

The Workers’ Compensation Act and other parts of the law lay out many responsibilities on the employer side, including:

  • Purchasing and maintaining workers’ compensation coverage for all employees (with some very limited exceptions for certain industries and circumstances).
  • Promptly escalating all reported injuries through the proper channels to initiate the claim process, either with their insurance carrier or directly with the state’s Industrial Commission.
  • Cooperating with the Industrial Commission and any other relevant state agencies to help the case reach a fair and timely conclusion.
  • Accommodating the medical treatment needs of employees who experience on-the-job injuries.
  • Promptly notifying claimants about updates to their claims.
  • Adequately addressing safety issues that have led to employee injuries.
  • Not retaliating against employees for reporting injuries or unsafe conditions or for exercising their legal rights under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of your employer’s responsibilities under the Workers’ Compensation Act and the wider umbrella of labor law. If you believe your employer is violating your rights or failing to meet their responsibilities under state law, please contact the offices of M. Reid Acree, Jr., Attorney at Law, for a totally confidential consultation.

It’s also important to remember that your employer is not the only party who has responsibilities under the Workers’ Compensation Act. As an injured worker, you have responsibilities of your own if you wish to access your workers’ comp benefits. For example, you need to promptly report your injury to your employer. “Promptly” in this instance means within 30 days, but immediate reporting expedites the initiation of your claim.


Q: What Is the Workers Compensation Act in NC?

A: In North Carolina, the Workers Compensation Act is an important piece of legislation that helps working people secure financial support and other benefits after they’ve been injured (or fallen ill) at work. The Workers Compensation Act establishes the key parts of the state’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance system and provides a robust framework for submitting, processing, and resolving on-the-job injury claims.

Q: How Long Does an Employee Have to Report an Injury to their Employer in NC?

A: In North Carolina, an employee has 30 days to report an injury to their employer. This provides a crucial window for reporting injuries with effects that don’t fully manifest until a few days after an accident. However, you should report your injury as soon as possible. Immediate reporting emphasizes the seriousness of your injury and allows your employer to begin the claim process as soon as possible, potentially expediting your access to benefits.

Q: Does My Employer Have to Hold My Job While on Workers Comp in NC?

A: No, your employer does not have to hold your job while you are on workers’ comp in North Carolina. While state and federal laws do provide significant protections, injured workers in North Carolina are still ultimately “at will” employees like anyone else (unless further protected by the specific terms of an employment contract), which essentially means they can lose their jobs at any time with no reason given.

It’s not always so cut and dried in practice, however, as it is still illegal for an employer to fire you for retaliatory reasons or to fire you specifically because you’re injured and collecting workers’ comp.

Q: Can You Be Fired While on Workers’ Comp in NC?

A: Yes, you can be fired while on workers’ comp in NC. NC is an “at will” employment state, so while the Workers’ Compensation Act and federal labor regulations provide many protections and benefits, blanket immunity from being fired while injured is not one of them. Be aware, however, that it is still illegal for an employer to fire you in retaliation for collecting workers’ comp benefits or to fire you rather than make reasonable accommodations for your injury.

M. Reid Acree, Jr., Attorney at Law – A Responsive, Compassionate NC Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you’ve been injured at work and find yourself struggling with the process of claiming and collecting workers’ compensation benefits, please know that we can help. No matter how complex or unique your case might be, we can help you navigate it with powerful legal strategies that are focused on your individual needs. Giving each client the personalized attention their case deserves is how we’ve developed a reputation as a top Charlotte worker’s compensation lawyer.

Founding attorney M. Reid Acree, Jr. abandoned the world of corporate law many years ago and has been fully dedicated to helping real, everyday North Carolinians since. In that time, we have collected millions of dollars for injured clients through savvy negotiation and fierce litigation. Our high-end legal services are accessible to all North Carolinian workers, even those faced with precarious financial situations, as we only ask for an attorney fee when we win.

Whether you’ve already reported your injury and are awaiting a response, need help getting the initial process started, or are experiencing unexpected issues accessing your rightful benefits, we can help. Please contact our main Salisbury, NC offices at your earliest convenience to get started with a confidential consultation.