North Carolina law requires prompt payment of workers' compensation benefits. If any installment of compensation is not paid within 14 days after it becomes due there shall be added to such unpaid installment an amount equal to 10% which shall be paid at the same time as, but in addition to, the regular workers' compensation payment.
One of the most frequent reports our Raleigh workers' comp lawyers receive regularly in our office is that the workers' comp insurance company is late in making weekly workers' comp payments.
Injured workers and their families depend upon these weekly North Carolina workers' compensation payments to help replace the wages that have been lost by the injured worker's inability to return to work. If these payments are late, it puts the worker and their family in financial distress.
There is not much that can be done for the worker, however, until the payment is 14 days late. After that time, a 10% penalty can be collected.
In extreme cases, where the insurance carrier fails to make any payment at all, the worker can ask that the Industrial Commission hold the employer in contempt of the orders of the North Carolina Industrial Commission. The contempt powers of the Industrial Commission are a very effective tool to enforce payments.
In order to avoid a 10% penalty for being more than 14 days late in making workers' compensation payments, the employer would have to show that the failure to pay was due to conditions over which they had no control. The Industrial Commission rarely excuses the employer from paying the 10% penalty for late payments.