When you start a new job, one of the first things you do is complete orientation. During this period, your company’s Human Resources department will provide you with a copy of their workplace accident policy. You’ll probably be asked to sign off on it to prove you’ve received it. If you get hurt on the job, you must follow this policy perfectly. If you don’t, you may not be eligible for workers compensation.
Our workers compensation attorneys in Charlotte meet with clients every week who suffered a workplace injury. Many of their claims were denied. For others, they learned the hard way what happens when your employer doesn’t provide workers comp.
Here, we’ll briefly discuss which employers are required to carry workers compensation insurance in North Carolina. We’ll also explain why your claim may have been denied by your employer. If you still have questions or concerns, feel free to contact our office and schedule your free, initial consultation.
Which Employers Are Required to Carry Workers Comp Insurance in North Carolina?
For the most part, employees who get hurt on the job must go through workers compensation if they’re hurt on the job. Under state law, you can’t sue your employer for injuries sustained in a workplace accident. Your only recourse is to collect workers comp benefits. The problem is that not all companies carry workers compensation insurance.
Some are required to but try to cut corners. They just cross their fingers and hope that nobody gets hurt. Perhaps they let their insurance lapse. Or they may not have ever carried it. In either case, your employer could be in trouble. There are hefty fines and penalties for employers who fail to carry the required workers compensation insurance. Unless your company meets one of the limited exceptions, they could be held liable.
There are other situations where your employer carries insurance but chooses to deny your claim. These are the trickier cases. Our Charlotte personal injury lawyers will have to appeal your claim and, if that doesn’t work, file suit against your employer. This is a worst-case scenario. The goal is to get your claim approved so you get the benefits you deserve.
What are the Exceptions to the Workers Compensation Rules in Charlotte, North Carolina?
Not all employers in North Carolina are required to carry workers compensation insurance. State law provides several exceptions. Many of these apply to groups of employees rather than the type of company one runs.
The exceptions in North Carolina include the following:
- Railroad employees
- Federal workers
- Agricultural workers
- Domestic servants
- Casual/seasonal workers
Some people think that all independent contractors are exempt from workers comp. However, the law is not as clear when it comes these employees. Technically, if an employer has a high level of control over the independent contractor’s work, they’re required to cover them under workers comp.
If you happen to fall into any of these categories, you won’t be eligible for workers compensation. However, you will have alternate ways to recover damages or benefits. For example, you may be part of a union that provides its workers with benefits.
Federal employees are also eligible for special coverage provided by the federal government. If you aren’t sure if your injuries should’ve been covered, you can always talk to a workers compensation attorney in Charlotte.
Even if Your Employer Carries Workers Comp Insurance, You Must Still Qualify
Regardless of what state you live in, the only way you can collect workers compensation benefits is if you meet certain requirements. They can be rather strict. However, most injured workers have no trouble qualifying. If you do, there is probably something unique about your claim.
The basic requirements for workers compensation in Charlotte include the following:
- Your injury took place on company property. If you work from home or on the road, this obviously doesn’t apply. In these situations, your Charlotte personal injury lawyer must prove that you got injured while acting within the scope of your employment.
- You must report your injury to your manager or Human Resources department right away. Most companies outline how long you have to report your injury. If you aren’t sure, look at your employee handbook or talk to your Human Resources Director.
- You must not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of your accident. All employees involved in a workplace accident are required to submit to a drug test prior to treatment. If you test positive, your claim will be denied. Your lawyer will have to demonstrate that you took legitimate, prescription medications. They’ll also have to show that you took them as prescribed and was not abusing them.
- You have to be treated by a company-approved doctor. If you choose to be seen by your primary doctor, your claim will not be approved.
- You must not work anywhere else while out on workers comp. if your employer discovers that you’re working somewhere during this period, they’ll terminate your benefits.
- You must comply with all recommended medical treatment.
- Finally, you must return when your doctor determines you’re ready. If you don’t feel you’re completely healed, your workers compensation attorney in Charlotte can get a second opinion.
As stated above, most people meet these criteria and have no problem securing their workers comp benefits. However, if your claim is denied for any reason, we may be able to help. You should call our office and set up a date and time to meet with a skilled Charlotte personal injury attorney. They may be able to convince the insurance company to approve your claim. If this doesn’t work, they can always file a workers compensation lawsuit on your behalf.
Schedule Your Free Consultation with One of Our Experienced Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyers Today
If you were hurt at work and your employer didn’t carry workers compensation insurance, you may have a legal claim. It depends on whether they were required to carry this type of coverage. The best thing to do is call our office and explain your situation. Our staff can help arrange for your free, initial consultation.
Take the time to sit down with one of our Charlotte personal injury lawyers. Our associates know the law in Charlotte, North Carolina and can help point you in the right direction. Your initial consultation is free, so you don’t have anything to lose.