North Carolina Workers Compensation Law Changes

October 15, 2012
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North Carolina personal injury attorneys can be of great assistance when victims of an accident on the job file for workers compensation. Workers compensation laws have been in place in North Carolina for a long time and are meant to ensure appropriate benefits for workers. In 2011, changes to North Carolina workers compensation laws took place following the passage of a new law. To best understand the changes to the new law as well as how it may affect workers compensation in case of an accident, it is important to consult with NC personal injury attorneys.

In the new law, significant changes to the length of disability payments were made. Previously, workers could continue to receive payments for total disability for as long as the worker was disabled. The new law caps the payments to 500 weeks, with a possibility of extension at the end of this 500 week period.

Partial disability payments are extended with the new law, from 300 to 500 weeks. It is important to work with legal advisors in order to ensure the best benefits from this change. Workers who return to an available “suitable” job (one that can be done even with the disability) can choose to be paid differently to accommodate both these longer disability payments as well as the wages from the new job. However, problems may arise after 500 weeks if the employee is still physically unable to return to the original, higher-paying job.

Certain changes to the workers compensation laws are of great potential value to the injured workers. The changes clarify the type of access the employer has to the injured worker’s doctors, and sets out a procedure that includes the worker for any discussions that may occur between the doctor and the employer. The law also increases the death benefits for the family of a deceased worker.

The changes to the law only affect any injuries that occur to a worker after July 1, 2011. The old law still applies to any injuries that happened prior to this date. North Carolina personal injury attorneys can work with employees injured on the job to help understand the workers compensation laws in NC and how the changes may affect a particular worker’s case. While some changes are beneficial, others may prove less so as workers navigate the challenging process of filing for workers compensation. Wake County attorneys can help workers along every step of the way.