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Burn Injuries at Work
If you or someone you love suffered work-related burn injuries in Charlotte, whether at your workplace or off-site while working remotely, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation, which is available for most types of employees in North Carolina, can help to pay for your medical care while providing compensation for wages and earnings you have lost due to your injuries.
Unfortunately, getting workers’ compensation isn’t always a simple or straightforward procedure, even in cases of severe injury. It is common for claims to be improperly denied, or for benefits to be calculated incorrectly, causing the employee to be awarded less than he or she is entitled to receive. A disabled worker’s benefits can also be improperly suspended, or even be terminated completely, after a claim has been approved.
Workers’ Comp for Job-Related Burn Injuries in North Carolina
Severe burns are among the most painful and costly injuries that a worker in North Carolina can sustain. Treatment for second, third, or fourth degree burns may require multiple skin grafts and surgeries, heaping one medical expense atop another over a period of months or years.
Depending on their severity and location, burns can also cause fingers or joints to contract (shorten) or fuse together, or cause damage to the victim’s eyelids and vision, resulting in partial or total disability. Whether they are caused by fire, scalding water, chemical exposure, radiation, friction, extreme heat, or extreme cold, the bottom line is that burn injuries can cause permanent damage to a worker’s career, finances, and most importantly, health.
Workers’ compensation can help lighten these burdens by providing financial compensation to the injury victim, or, if the burn injuries are fatal, to the victim’s dependents. Workers’ compensation, which is also called “workers’ comp,” “WC,” or occasionally “workman’s comp,” is available for most members of Charlotte’s workforce under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, which makes it mandatory for partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), S corporations, C corporations, and even sole proprietorships to ensure coverage for eligible employees. Independent contractors, such as truck drivers, may also be eligible even though they are not classified as employees.
Injured employees and contractors are typically eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, provided the following five statements are true:
- The injury occurred in the course and scope of the worker’s job duties, whether on- or off-site.
- The injury was not deliberately self-inflicted.
- The worker was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- The worker’s employer has at least three employees.
- The worker is not a railroad worker, domestic worker, farm laborer, or employee of the federal government. In such cases, compensation may be available under other laws. Additionally, some exceptions may apply. For example, farm laborers may be covered depending on how many laborers are employed and whether they work on a seasonal basis.
How Much Workers’ Compensation Can You Get for a Burn Injury?
The amount of workers’ compensation that is available for a work-related burn injury varies from employee to employee, depending on factors like the severity of the injury, the permanence of the injury, and the worker’s pre-injury earnings. An attorney can help to determine an appropriate level of compensation in your case.
In North Carolina, workers’ comp is calculated at 66.66% of the employee’s average weekly wage, with a weekly cap which is fixed at $978 as of 2017 – in other words, a monthly maximum of approximately $3,912. These caps are adjusted annually for inflation, meaning the limit will be raised in 2018. In most cases, benefits are paid on a weekly basis, though it may be possible to arrange for a monthly payment.