Workers’ Compensation and Third-Party Claims in NC
When an employee suffers a work-related injury, they may have one or more legal options to recover compensation or other financial benefits for their recovery. First, the North Carolina workers’ compensation system entitles employees who get hurt in the course and scope of employment to specific financial benefits.
A worker hurt on the job does not need to prove that their employer or any other party bore any responsibility for their injury. However, in exchange for guaranteed no-fault benefits, an injured worker usually gives up their right to file a personal injury claim against their employer. Instead, the worker can only demand benefits from the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company.
However, when a third party’s negligence or fault led to the worker’s injury, the worker may also have a personal injury claim against that at-fault party – someone other than the injured person’s employer and co-workers.
An employee who suffers a work injury due to a third party’s fault can file a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party injury lawsuit. A personal injury claim can compensate for losses not covered through workers’ comp.
Benefits from NC Workers’ Compensation Claims
Under the North Carolina workers’ compensation system, an injured worker can receive various financial benefits designed to help them recover from their injury and return to work. These workers’ compensation benefits include:
- Medical expenses – Workers’ compensation insurance covers the cost of all reasonable and necessary medical treatment for a work injury or occupational disease, including hospitalization, surgeries, prescriptions, pain management care, and physical and occupational therapy.
- Lost wages – When a work injury or occupational illness keeps an employee out of work or forces them to transfer to a lower-paying light-duty or part-time position, workers’ compensation provides wage reimbursement equal to two-thirds of the worker’s pre-injury average weekly wage (up to a cap), or two-thirds of the difference between the worker’s average weekly wage and their current lower wage from temporary restricted duty work.
- Permanent total disability benefits and permanent partial disability benefits – Once a worker reaches maximum medical improvement for a work injury or occupational illness and receives a permanent impairment rating, they may be entitled to payments based on the type and severity of disability they have suffered.
- Travel reimbursement – Workers who travel 20 or more miles to medical appointments and procedures for a work injury or occupational disease can receive reimbursement based on the distance traveled.
Workers’ compensation insurance also provides death benefits to surviving family members of a worker who dies from a work injury or occupational disease, including partial reimbursement of the worker’s wages and up to $10,000 toward funeral and burial expenses.
Compensation from a Third-Party Personal Injury Claim
In a third-party personal injury lawsuit, workers can recover compensation from an at-fault party not affiliated with their employer. The compensation can include money for financial and personal losses that a worker has sustained due to their injury, including:
- Costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation, including medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses
- Costs of long-term care for prolonged or permanent disabilities, including home health care and home renovations to install disability accommodations
- Full reimbursement of lost earnings from missed work or reduced income in a modified-duty role
- Loss of future income and job benefits due to temporary or permanent disability
- Physical pain and emotional trauma and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment and quality of life caused by disabilities or permanent scarring and disfigurement caused by work injuries or an occupational disease
Why Hire a Local North Carolina Work Injury Attorney
After suffering a work injury or occupational disease, you need a North Carolina work injury attorney to help you pursue the full extent of compensation you deserve under the law. Our work injury attorneys are ready to help you file or appeal a workers’ compensation claim to aggressively pursue the maximum benefits afforded to you by workers’ compensation law.
Our attorneys can also review the facts and circumstances of your injury to determine whether you may have a third-party personal injury case to seek benefits unavailable from workers’ compensation. We can also assist you with resolving workers’ compensation liens on your personal injury recovery so you take home maximum compensation.