Healthcare Workers Guide to Workers Compensation

January 5 , 2018

In North Carolina, workers’ compensation provides payments to part-time and full-time employees who are injured on the job. All types of workers in North Carolina’s healthcare industry can be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, including nurses, hospital workers, pharmacists, lab technicians, home health aides, nursing assistants, dental assistants, phlebotomists, orderlies, and others. If you or your spouse was injured at healthcare or medical job in North Carolina, this short guide by our Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys will help you understand some important facts about getting benefits in 2018. Continue reading to learn about:

  • How you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits
  • The types of injuries can qualify you for workers’ comp
  • What benefits are available for injured healthcare workers
  • How long you can continue to receive your benefits

If you believe you could have a claim, contact the Ramsay Law Firm online, or call (704) 376-1616 for a free consultation. We may be able to help you qualify for benefits, keep benefits that are in jeopardy of being reduced or terminated, or challenge the denial of your workers’ comp claim.

Do I Qualify for Workers’ Compensation?

Dealing with a serious injury is never easy. The good news is that you are likely to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if your injury was job-related, even if you were not physically at your office building, clinic, laboratory, or hospital when the injury occurred. In order to qualify, you must:

  • Tell your employer about the injury within 30 days of its occurrence
  • File a workers’ compensation claim within two years of the date of injury

If your employer tells you that no coverage is available, you should talk to our attorneys immediately. Your employer may be breaking the law by failing to provide coverage, which is a mandatory requirement for most businesses in North Carolina.

Healthcare Industry Injuries Covered by Workers’ Comp in NC

The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act is broad in scope and covers nearly all occupational injuries, illnesses/diseases, and accidents, including the aggravation (worsening) of pre-existing injuries. This includes minor injuries, moderate injuries, catastrophic injuries, and fatal injuries. If the injury is fatal, benefits are distributed to the deceased worker’s surviving dependents.

According to healthcare industry injury statistics released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), some of the most common injuries among hospital workers include:

  • Sprains and strains (54%)
  • Bone fractures (5%)
  • Cuts and puncture wounds (3%)

All of these injuries are potentially eligible for workman’s compensation benefits. Other common healthcare-related injuries that can qualify you for benefits include:

  • Assault injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Facial injuries
  • Foot, ankle, and leg injuries
  • Hand, wrist, and arm injuries
  • Illnesses and infections, including healthcare-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (HA-MRSA)
  • Joint injuries (hip injuries, knee injuries, shoulder injuries, elbow injuries, ankle injuries)
  • Lifting injuries
  • Repetitive strain injuries (RSI)
  • Spinal cord injuries (SCI) and paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)

What Are the Benefits? How Long Do They Last?

A few different types of workers’ comp benefits are available for injured healthcare workers in North Carolina. This includes:

  • Benefits for disfigurement. If you suffered a seriously disfiguring injury, you may be awarded:
    • Up to $20,000, if the disfiguring injury was to your head and/or face
    • Up to $10,000, if the disfiguring injury was to other parts of your body, with some exceptions
  • Benefits for lost wages. If the injury is serious enough to prevent you from working, you can receive benefits to partially compensate the loss of income. The maximum wage loss benefit is approximately 66.66%, or about two thirds, of your weekly earnings before you were injured. For example, if you were earning $650 per week before the accident or illness/infection, you could receive up to approximately $433.29 per week. As of 2018, the weekly limit for lost wage benefits is a maximum payment of $992, up slightly from the $978 limit set in 2017. This limit will increase again in 2019.
  • Benefits for medical bills. All “reasonable” medical expenses are covered by workers’ compensation. This generally extends to treatment and ongoing care costs like surgery, hospitalization, medication, rehabilitation and physical therapy, medical devices like wheelchairs or crutches, and doctor appointments.

Generally speaking, payments for disabling injuries can be made for up to 500 weeks, which is equivalent to about nine and a half years. The length of time you can receive benefits for impairing work injuries depends on where you were injured. For example, if you lost a hand or leg, you can receive benefits for up to 200 weeks.

Charlotte, NC Workman’s Comp Lawyers for Healthcare and Medical Workers

Nurses, personal caregivers, and others work tirelessly to care for the sick and injured. They deserve the same level of care when they become sick or injured.

If you or one of your family members work in healthcare, and recently suffered a job-related injury in the Charlotte, North Carolina region, the Ramsay Law Firm is ready to help. We have decades of experience fighting to obtain fair compensation for disabled workers, and we know what it takes to get you the benefits you deserve. To learn more about a healthcare workers’ compensation claim in a free legal consultation, contact our law office online, or call the Ramsay Law Firm at (704) 376-1616.

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