If you have been injured at work, North Carolina’s workers’ compensation law requires you to notify your employer orally and in writing, immediately — and in any event within 30 days of the incident. This may seem contradictory, but the law attempts to strike a balance between the employer’s right to prompt notice of a claim and the employee’s possible incapacity in the hours, days, and weeks after an injury. Exactly how you proceed depends on the circumstances of your workplace injury or work-related illness. Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban provides reliable advice on workers’ comp filings so you don’t lose your right to benefits.
Suppose you have an accident, where you slip and fall or you are struck by an object. It’s obvious that an injury-causing event has taken place. Your inclination may be to “shake it off,” but you should seek immediate medical treatment and report the incident at once to the appropriate manager at your place of employment. This is not only good practice for ensuring your physical health and recovery, but it establishes a firm cause of your injury. If you were to let the incident go for a few days or weeks, your employer might suspect that an intervening incident away from the workplace caused your injury, and you are just trying to pin it on the company to collect workers’ comp.
When receiving care, tell your provider that your injury is work related. Your provider can then bill treatment as a workers’ comp claim. Make sure to follow up the verbal notice you gave your manager with written notice within 30 days. If you are unable to do this yourself, have a family member or friend do it for you.
Some injuries or illnesses do not begin with a single inciting incident. Repetitive stress injuries and industrial illnesses manifest over time. Since it’s hard to know when such an injury “happened,” the law generally views the start time as the moment you know your injury or illness is work related. This could be the date of a physician’s diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome or degenerative disc disease. As soon as you get the diagnosis, you should notify your employer orally and in writing.
Having given your employer notice of your injury, it’s important to follow up shortly afterward to make sure the employer has filed a claim with the insurance company.
If an employer says a delay in filing has cost you your benefits, our workers’ compensation lawyers are ready to help. Our experienced legal team at Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban can advise you of all your options under North Carolina law. Call us at (888) 351-1038 or contact us online for a free consultation.
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