In the case of the loss of or a permanent injury to all or any part of any important external or internal organ or part of the body for which the rate of compensation is not set out specifically in the North Carolina workers' compensation statutes, the Industrial Commission may award compensation up to $20,000 for such loss. The $20,000 limit is for each specific body part or organ. If there is permanent or partial impairment to more than one organ or body part, the loss to each body part should be computed, and the total amount can be more than $20,000, provided that the amount for each body part or organ is no greater than $20,000. Learn about permanent partial impairment compensation.
In making these awards, the amount of the award, if any, for loss to an additional body part not set out specifically by North Carolina workers' compensation law for loss or impairment of body parts or to organs, is at the discretion of the Industrial Commission. They may award a figure up to the limit or may award nothing. It is completely up to the Industrial Commission.
Although neither the statutes nor the opinions of our appellate courts have stated that earning capacity can be considered in determining an award for loss of use of unnamed body parts or organs, two appellate court decisions seem to support such a holding.
An employee is not required to establish a diminution of wage earning capacity in order to be entitled to compensation for loss resulting from impairment of unnamed body parts or organs. However, such lost earning capacity may be considered in setting the amount of the award.
Examples of other body parts or organs for which compensation has been awarded include loss of the sense of taste or smell, sinuses, nerves and muscles of the face ($20,000); the pancreas ($20,000); the lungs ($20,000 each - total for two $40,000); abdominal wall ($15,000); the omentum ($10,000); intestines ($12,000); stomach ($5,000); reproductive organs ($15,000); the uterus ($15,000); the bladder ($11,000) and the spleen ($20,000).
Every case is unique. Request a complimentary case evaluation with one of our Raleigh workers' comp lawyers. We will review the circumstances of your work-related injury, discuss your past and future medical treatment, and explain the law and your legal options so that you can feel confident in deciding how to proceed with your claim.