As the new employee on your first day on the job, you’re likely to feel a combination of excitement and anxiety as you learn how to perform your duties. Unfortunately, you’re also more likely to be injured during the first several days of a new job.
Even if you are injured at work on the first day of a new job in North Carolina and put out of work, you are covered by workers’ compensation insurance and entitled to benefits.
Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance that most employers in North Carolina are required to purchase to protect workers who are injured. Workers’ comp insurance pays for medical care and provides wage-replacement benefits.
Anyone injured on the job on their first day who is told he or she does not qualify for workers’ comp benefits should speak to a North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible.
An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at Hardison & Cochran in Raleigh, NC, can help you evaluate your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace injury. We know the rules and regulations of the N.C. workers’ comp system. We know how employers and insurers sometimes wrongly try to deny valid claims to save money. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
Who Has Workers’ Comp Rights if Injured on the First Day of Work
Under North Carolina law, most businesses with three or more employees must maintain workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees. If a business has even one employee engaged in job duties that involve the use of radiation, they are required to maintain workers’ compensation coverage for their workforce.
Workers’ comp coverage is a group insurance plan. Everyone who becomes a member of the group by being employed is covered and has a right to benefits if injured on the job.
Exceptions to workers’ compensation coverage requirements include:
- Contractors employed for temporary work not done by the employer
- Domestic servants directly employed by a household
- Farm laborers when fewer than 10 full-time, non-seasonal farm laborers are regularly employed by the same employer
- People who sell agricultural products for the producers and are paid on commission
- Federal government employees
- Employees of certain railroads, who are covered by a federal program
- Corporate officers who choose to be excluded from workers’ comp coverage.
Typically, independent contractors are not covered by workers’ compensation because they are not employees. However, some employers call their employees “independent contractors” to avoid their obligations. The North Carolina. Industrial Commission, which administers the state’s workers’ comp program, may find that workers who are called contractors should in fact be classified as employees based upon an analysis of several factors, including the degree of control exercised by the employer over the worker’s work and schedule.
If you have been told that you do not qualify for workers’ compensation because you are an independent contractor, you and other nontraditional workers may have rights to benefits after being hurt on the job. Contact Hardison & Cochran to review the situation.
Workers’ Comp Benefits Available to Eligible Employees
Workers’ compensation covers an eligible employee’s medical treatment costs and replaces some of the employee’s lost wages if he or she misses seven or more days of work because of a workplace injury.
North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits include payments for:
- All medical bills related to the injury, from emergency response to physical and/or occupational/vocational rehabilitation.
- Missed wages during recovery at a rate of about two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly pay.
North Carolina’s workers’ compensation program also provides specific benefits for disfiguring injuries, such as loss of a limb or an eye or loss of the “use of the back.”
In the case of a fatal workplace accident, members of the worker’s immediate family may be eligible to obtain a death benefit, which includes reimbursement of reasonable funeral and burial expenses and a wage-replacement stipend.
Filing for Workers’ Comp when Injured at Work on the First Day
Whenever an employee is injured on the job, the employee needs to report the accident to their supervisor – even if they’ve been hurt on their first day. Many companies have formal procedures for reporting on-the-job accidents and injuries. An employee should follow the company’s directions for reporting the accident and injury.
When there’s no formal procedure to document a workplace accident, the employee needs to follow up after reporting their accident verbally by reporting it in writing. An email to your supervisor with your name, date, time, and what happened to you will do. This creates a permanent record of the fact that you reported the workplace injury.
The injured employee also needs to see a doctor right away. If the doctor says you need to stay home, ask the doctor to put that in writing, and give it to your employer. Keep a copy of the doctor’s orders to stay home and any other documents related to your injury, medical care, and missed work.
Filing a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation claim requires completing and submitting a North Carolina Industrial Commission Form 18 to the Industrial Commission. You need to send a copy to your employer and keep a copy for your records.
The Industrial Commission says to notify your employer immediately after an accident or as soon as practicable and within 30 days. Technically, you have two years to file for workers’ compensation benefits. But you should begin the claims process as soon as possible. If your workers’ comp claim is allowed, you will begin to receive benefit checks within a few weeks.
Get Help With Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
The Raleigh workers’ compensation attorneys at Hardison & Cochran can begin immediately to assist you with a workers’ compensation claim. In addition to employers who seek to deny benefits to eligible employees, any of several common mistakes can cause your claim to be denied or your benefit to be less than what you deserve. There’s no need to delay the start of benefits you’ll need to pay bills or risk your valid claim being rejected.
Phone Hardison & Cochran toll-free at (800) 434-8399 or fill out our online contact form. We serve injured workers across North Carolina, including workers in Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Wake County, Fayetteville, Dunn, Greensboro, Research Triangle Park, Wilmington, Greenville, the Triad, Person County and Southern Pines. Let our workers’ compensation lawyers help you today.