Permanent Disability and other Disabilities in North Carolina Worker’s Compensation Cases

North Carolina not only recognizes that people suffer permanent injuries, but they have a special category of compensation for permanent disabilities. In worker’s compensation cases, permanent disability means:

  • The disability is permanent and
  • The disability permanently prevents the employee from working.

Permanent total disability – the employee will never be able to work again in any capacity. Here, the employee gets 2/3 of his wages for life. The law lists several categories of injuries that are presumed to be permanent and total, such the loss of two or more limbs, paralysis, or severe brain injuries.

Permanent partial disability – means the disability is permanent, but that the disability doesn’t prevent the employee from doing some type of work. In this scenario, North Carolina applies scores as follows:

  • Category of impairment. If there is a showing of permanent disability, then the employee’s disability is categorized in the law – usually by the type of body part and the limitations on movement. A weeks figure (some number of weeks up to a maximum of 300) is then assigned to the category in the law;
  • Rating of Impairment The disability is also categorized by a percentage rating – For example, if an employee’s arm is injured, a physician will give a percentage (between 0 and 100) rating on how much the injury limits the employee’s use of the arm.

Based on the category of impairment and the rating, an award (usually a lump sum) is given to the employee. The award is figured as follows (where x means multiply)

  • The average weekly wage X
  • 2/3 X (.66667)= the compensation rate.
  • the rating (the percentage) X
  • number of weeks assigned for the category= compensation weeks.

Then you take the compensation rate X the compensation weeks to get the amount payable for permanent partial impairment to the specific body part.

Temporary Total Disability– this is either where the disability is full, but turns out to be temporary, or where the disability is not full, but the employee’s injury-related physical restrictions prevent him or her from returning to suitable employment. Employees injured after June 24, 2011 are limited to a maximum of 500 weeks of compensation. Under some circumstances, this can be extended, if, after 425 weeks, the employee is able to prove a total loss of wage-earning capacity.

Partial Incapacity– this is where the injured employee has returned to work, but at a lower wage than the job he or she was engaged in at the time of injury. Such employees are entitled to 2/3rds of the difference between their average weekly wage currently and the average weekly wage earned at the time of injury. For injuries after June 24, 2011, such compensation is limited to 500 weeks.

How We Can Help

If you’ve had the misfortune to suffer a workplace accident, you need good legal help on your side. When you need a great attorney for workplace accidents in Hampton Roads, Virginia or in Northeast North Carolina, make sure you visit us online or call Workers Compensation Attorney Joe Miller at 888-694-1671 to find out how he can help you get all the wages you’re entitled.