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closeup of an employers first report of injury or illness

What starts as a typical day at work can quickly become life-altering due to workplace injuries. Tens of thousands of North Carolina workers are injured on the job every year, and their conditions range from mild illnesses and injuries to permanent disability. The hours following a workplace injury are crucial, and there are steps employees must take to ensure they are adequately covered. While reporting a workplace injury and filing a workers’ comp claim sound similar, they are separate processes. Both are essential to receiving workers’ compensation benefits, so it’s important to know what to do after an injury. It’s critical to report an injury to your employer, even if you feel it wasn’t severe. Symptoms can develop days or weeks after an incident, and having a written record makes your case easier.

How To Report A North Carolina Workplace Injury

You have 30 days to notify your employer of a workplace injury under North Carolina law, but you should do it as soon as possible. After an injury, you should verbally let your employer know that you’ve been hurt. Along with the verbal notification, you must provide a written statement explaining the extent of your injuries and what caused them. Your employer may provide you with a form to fill out when possible. If they don’t, you can use North Carolina Industrial Commission Form 18, which is used to apply for workers’ comp benefits and serves as a written record of your claim. You also have the option of writing your statement. Depending on the severity of the injury, seeking immediate medical attention may be the priority, and someone else can submit the written notification on your behalf. If you write a statement, you should include a few pertinent details. 

The statement should contain basic identifying information, like your name and date of birth. It should also include a detailed description of your tasks while injured and how the injury occurred. You can share any diagnoses you received after seeking medical care and note that you didn’t have any pre-existing injuries or illnesses that could be to blame, which is a common reason that claims are denied. Don’t forget that you only have 30 days to notify your employer of your injury to receive workers’ comp benefits. It’s imperative you don’t miss this deadline.

How To File A North Carolina Workers’ Comp Claim

One of the first things you should do after a workplace injury is seek immediate medical care. Your employer may have a designated on-site or off-site healthcare provider for you to visit. If they don’t, you can choose where you go for a medical exam. You should tell the health care provider that your injury is work-related so they’ll bill your treatment as a workers’ comp claim.

Filing the North Carolina Industrial Commission Form 18 is necessary to receive workers’ comp benefits. When filling out the form, you’ll provide details about the injury, how many days you spent away from work, and your current weekly wage. 

Once completed, email or mail the form to the North Carolina Industrial Commission. When the form is processed, the commission will send an acknowledgment letter. It’s essential to avoid making mistakes on the form that could affect your benefits. One common error is being too vague when describing what happened to you. Provide as much detail as you can, but make sure that everything you share is factual. 

North Carolina is a no-fault state for workers’ compensation, meaning you’re eligible for benefits even if you were at fault for the accident. If an employee was under the influence when the incident occurred or intentionally injured themselves, this doesn’t apply. But generally speaking, you can recover benefits regardless of who caused the injury, so there’s no need to misrepresent what happened when filling out the form.

You should also make sure that you know your rights. Your employer may try to intimidate you into minimizing your injuries or misreporting the facts surrounding the accident. The information you provide needs to be accurate, and you should contact a workers’ comp lawyer if you feel pressured by your employer to lie or deemphasize your health problems. 

How A North Carolina Workers’ Comp Lawyer Can Help

A workers’ comp lawyer knows your legal rights and will advocate on your behalf to make sure you are protected and receive the benefits you deserve. Workers’ comp insurance carriers may allege that your injury isn’t work-related or that an existing injury caused it. Sometimes, your employer may retaliate against you for filing a claim. You may not realize you have legal options, but a workers’ comp attorney can help. The North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers at Whitley Law Firm have extensive knowledge of the state workers’ comp system. Along with advocating on your behalf during the claims process, we can represent you in court if necessary. Call us today at (919) 785-5000 or complete our online contact form.

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