Top Five Employee Mistakes in Filing a North Carolina Workers' Compensation Claim
1. Not filing a written accident report within 30 days of incident.
The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act provides a limited time frame in which an employee can report an on-the-job accident and injury. The Workers’ Compensation Act specifically states that an employee has thirty (30) days to provide written notice to their employer of their injury and that it was caused at work.
2. Not reporting the work related accident at the first doctor’s office visit.
The Workers' Compensation Act does not require you to report how you were injured to your doctor. However, not reporting the events that led to your work injury can severely damage your ability to claim benefits. In most cases, what you "told" your initial medical provider about how you were injured is factored in when an insurance company is determining whether or not to pay benefits. If you do not specifically inform your medical provider about what happened at work that resulted in your injury AND the medical provider does not put it in the medical record, your ability to claim benefits will be damaged.
3. Failing to file a benefit claim within the 2-year period.
An injured employee has two (2) years to “file” a claim for benefits with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. This two (2) year period begins to run on the date of injury or on the last date that the workers’ compensation insurance company paid some form of benefits to or on behalf of the injured employee. Never attempt to determine when your two (2) year “filing” period ends by yourself. Always consult with a qualified attorney.
4. Going on-the-record without consulting a Workers’ Compensation Attorney.
Many times, an injured worker will try to give a statement to the insurance company about how they were injured without the assistance of an attorney. We see several cases each year where an injured worker left out a fact during this statement that they did not think was important . However, the fact they left it out was the reason their case was denied.
5. Seeking health care outside the system and/or without the insurance carrier’s approval.
Any care received outside of that directed by the employer or insurance carrier may not be covered by workers’ compensation unless you are permitted “in writing” by the employer, the insurance company, or the North Carolina Industrial Commission. However, do not take any chances when it comes to your medical care. Contact an attorney who can help you get the best treatment possible so you can recover.