North Carolina worker’s compensation benefits may not be collected for the death of a worker if that death was intentionally caused by the worker. In most cases, therefore, there can be no recovery of worker’s compensation benefits resulting from suicide.
In those cases where the death suffered by the deceased injured employee resulted from them losing normal judgment and becoming dominated by a disturbance of mind directly caused by a work injury or condition, and the injury or condition's consequences, their suicide cannot be considered “willful” and, therefore, surviving family can claim worker’s compensation death benefits.
The law provides that a suicide cannot be intentional if it results from a mental condition resulting from a work injury and the worker is unable to control the impulse to kill themselves.
If the suicide is not “willful,” the suicide will not bar recovery for the deceased injured worker’s family.