Normally, employees are entitled to benefits under North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act if they were injured at work for an accidental cause.
What does “accidental cause” mean?
An accident is defined as a separate event preceding and causing the injury. Slipping, tripping and falling are the most common examples, but there are more. Injuries caused by negligence or carelessness, like suffocation or intoxication, are also considered accidents. Finally, the notion of accident can be extended to an unusual event, something out of the ordinary, leading to the injury.
Can compensation be denied because an injury is not accidental?
If a worker performs his regular duties in the usual manner and suddenly feels intense pain in a weak knee, the injury may not be compensable if his or her work does not require a particular effort of the knee. It is argued that the worker would have suffered a similar injury doing any activity not related to work.
Back and neck injuries stand a better chance of being compensated if the employee performs straining work and if the injury is caused by a specific traumatic incident, a precise moment when intense pain has developed.
What are occupational diseases?
Any disease that is proven to be caused by the nature and characteristics of a particular occupation or employment is called occupational disease and can be compensated under the Workers’ Compensation Act if the exposure to the disease is greater than that of the general public. Occupational illnesses, like carpal tunnel syndrome or any other repetitive motion trauma will have to be examined very closely before being considered eligible for compensation. The analysis will focus not just on the medical record of the worker before he or she was employed, but also and foremost on the tasks performed at work. Chemicals or dusts present in the workplace can cause diseases like asbestosis, asthma, silicosis or dermatitis.
If you or a loved one has been hurt at work, you have a right to adequate medical treatment and compensation for wage loss and permanent disability.
If you disagree with the doctor’s diagnosis or proposed treatment, if you have doubts about your average weekly wage calculation, if you are asked to return to work before your injuries have healed, if you don’t understand your impairment rating, or if you have other questions about your case, contact Joe Miller Law in Elizabeth City, where attorney Joseph Miller, Esq has been representing injured North Carolina workers for over 20 years. Call us locally 757-455-8889 or toll-free 888-694-1671 or contact us online for a FREE, no commitment discussion of your case.
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