In a perfect world, a workers' compensation claim is filed, the employee receives the benefits they are entitled to, recovers, and returns to work. Many times injured workers receive incorrect benefit amounts or their claim is denied altogether. Recently, National Public Radio focused a segment on how employers and insurance companies are taking control of workers' comp disputes.
The problem that is surfacing for injured workers across the country happens to rest upon their state of residence. Nearly a dozen states have passed reforms that change how disabled employees may receive treatment. This in turn gives insurance companies and employers more power.
Although some North Carolina laws have changed favorably for injured workers, not all of them have. In the past, workers' comp death benefits provided up to $3,500 toward the deceased worker's burial expenses. In 2011, laws changed that provide up to $10,000 in payments toward funeral expenses of an individual killed as a result of their employment in North Carolina. The same year the death benefit payout cap to surviving spouses and children was extended from 400 weeks to 500 weeks. On the flip side, laws passed that make it more difficult for injured workers to switch their treating doctor. The new legislation also made it more challenging for victims to qualify for permanent or total disability.
If you or a loved one feel like they are losing control of their workers' comp claim--whether it was denied, benefits were reduced, or another issue--you can rest assured you have rights under North Carolina workers' comp law and certain federal laws might apply. Our workers' compensation attorneys in Raleigh and Cary can help you appeal a denial and represent your best interests both in and out of court.