When you go to work, you do your best to do a good job. After a long day, you want to go home, eat with your family or friends or kick back and enjoy a Tar Heels game. You do not want to worry about suffering through an ongoing injury you received at work. Fortunately, because of North Carolina’s workers’ compensation system, you may be able to receive compensation for your injury.
For some reason, North Carolina workers often believe things about workers’ compensation that are not true. If you do not understand how the system works, you may miss out on important benefits. As such, rather than listening to your friends, co-workers, manager or others, you likely want to seek a legal opinion about your options. Regardless, here are five myths about workers’ compensation you should not believe.
Myth 1: You cannot receive benefits if you caused your injury
Whether you work in an office, warehouse, restaurant or a different type of job site, you know accidents and injuries happen. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, about every seven seconds, a worker sustains some type of injury at work. Even if you were to blame for your injury, though, you can likely pursue workers' compensation. That is, fault is usually not a consideration in determining eligibility for benefits.
Myth 2: Your boss can retaliate against you for filing a claim
Nobody wants to work at a miserable workplace. If your employer takes adverse employment action because of your claim, he or she likely violates the law. Said another way, your boss should not demote you, cut your pay, exclude you or otherwise retaliate against you because of your workers’ compensation filing.
Myth 3: You can only receive benefits if you work full time
You do not need to be a full-time employee to file a workers’ compensation claim. If you are a part-time, seasonal, temporary or full-time worker, you may seek compensation for your job-related injury.
Myth 4: You can wait to report your injury
Not every resident of North Carolina enjoys going to the doctor. Waiting to see if your injury gets better on its own, though, may be a big mistake. That is, you usually must report your injury within 30 days. If you are outside that window, you should not give up. You may be able to file your claim later.
Myth 5: Appealing a denial is not worth the effort
Employers and their insurance providers regularly deny workers’ compensation claims. Even though appealing a denial may require additional work, it is usually worth the effort. In fact, the North Carolina Industrial Commission often overturns initial denials, helping injured workers receive the compensation they need to recover fully and pay necessary expenses.
If you have sustained an injury at work, you may feel helpless. Still, you cannot let misinformation encourage you to give up important rights. By understanding the truth about workers’ compensation coverage, you can better advocate for yourself.