Workers’ Comp: Possibilities and Limits

Worker compensation laws in NC

More than 80,000 workers in North Carolina suffered a nonfatal injury or illness on the job in a recent year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you’ve been injured or have developed a work-related illness, you may have questions about what benefits you can claim through workers’ compensation.

Most employers in North Carolina are required to have workers’ compensation insurance to provide benefits to employees who are injured on the job or develop an occupational illness.

At Hardison & Cochran, our legal team includes experienced attorneys who focus on handling workers’ compensation cases and advocating for injured workers. Our workers’ compensation attorneys know North Carolina’s workers’ compensation law and are skilled at resolving disputes about workers’ comp benefits. We have put together a list of answers to some of the questions we often hear about workers’ compensation in North Carolina.

Can You Be Fired While on Workers’ Comp?

Your employer could fire you while you’re on workers’ comp, but there are specific regulations that provide some protection. Your employer cannot fire you for any reason that would qualify as discrimination. Second, your employer cannot fire you in retaliation for filing a workers’ comp claim. If you believe you were fired because you filed a workers’ compensation claim, talk to a lawyer at Hardison & Cochran right away.

an injured worker at work

Can You Work While on Workers’ Comp?

Until your doctor has cleared you for light-duty work or modified duty at your job, you cannot work and still receive weekly wage-replacement benefits through workers’ compensation. If you are released by the doctor to return to light-duty work, you may work and receive a reduced wage-replacement benefit. You are entitled to receive your medical benefits until you are either fully healed or reach maximum medical improvement.

Can You Quit Your Job While on Workers’ Comp?

You are allowed to quit your job while you’re receiving workers’ compensation benefits. However, leaving your job while you are receiving workers’ compensation may lead to a reduction in your benefits. While your medical benefits should continue until you are released from the doctor’s care, quitting your job could cost you your wage-replacement benefits. Wage-replacement benefits are based on the income you earned at your job. Quitting could mean you lose that income when you need it.

Can You Apply for Disability While on Workers’ Comp?

You are allowed to apply for Social Security disability benefits while you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits. To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you must meet the Social Security Administration’s strict definition of being disabled. You must be unable to maintain any gainful employment and your disability must be expected to last at least a year or it must be a terminal condition. If you have questions about whether it’s worth it to apply for Social Security disability while on workers’ comp, talk to a North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer.

What Not to Do While on Workers’ Comp

Here are common mistakes to avoid if you are filing for workers’ compensation benefits:

workers compensation on computer monitor

  • Waiting too long to report your injury to your employer
  • Not giving enough detail to your workers’ comp doctor
  • Faking or exaggerating your symptoms
  • Not following your prescribed treatment plan
  • Failing to keep follow-up appointments
  • Not returning to work if you’ve been cleared to do so
  • Failing to reach out to a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer if your employer or the employer’s insurance carrier disputes your workers’ compensation claim.

Contact a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

Workers’ compensation claims in North Carolina involve complicated rules. It is essential to take the proper steps so you can get the benefits you need. The workers’ compensation lawyers at Hardison & Cochran want to help you with your case. You can learn more about our services with a free initial consultation.

About the Author

Hardison & Cochran was established based on the conviction that a modern approach was essential in today’s legal landscape. Focused on delivering exceptional results through a skilled team, the firm prioritizes personal attention, integrity, and client needs. Each attorney, paralegal, and staff member is dedicated to this vision. Over three decades, with Ben Cochran overseeing daily operations, the firm has evolved into a highly respected practice.