Teacher Injuries in North Carolina
School teachers face many serious injury risks at their jobs. Because public school teachers are enrolled in various state benefit plans, they may face complicated issues when seeking to collect workers’ compensation and other relief when they are hurt at work.
At Hardison & Cochran, we have experience with assisting North Carolina school teachers who have been injured on the job. We know how to help you obtain the maximum workers’ comp settlement available while ensuring those payments do not conflict with benefits of the state health plan, disability insurance and/or your retirement.
To learn more, call us today at (800) 434-8399 or complete our online contact form. We can review your legal options in a free and confidential initial consultation.
Types of Injury Risks Faced by North Carolina Teachers
School teachers face many of the potential workplace injuries common to people in other occupations – and more. Consider these very real scenarios from any North Carolina public school teacher’s workday:
- Bus duty means monitoring school children while multiple school buses and cars drop students off or pick them up. While looking out for students’ safety, the teacher is hit by a car or bus because of a driver’s negligence.
- A teacher on his or her way to class in the morning encounters a hallway slippery from water and mud tracked in by hundreds of students – or a spill that has not been cleaned up – and slips and falls.
- Crossing school grounds between classes, a teacher is injured by tripping over ground maintenance equipment that has been left out or by an unmarked hole in the lawn.
- A teacher balancing on a kick-stool to put material on a bulletin board falls and breaks an arm.
- A drama teacher is injured when scenery set up for a student production falls on top of her.
- A teacher retrieving several reams of paper from a supply closet for himself and a fellow teacher strains his back as he bends and lifts his load.
- A teacher dealing with unruly students and under-performing classes, increased paperwork, complicated lesson plans and an upcoming performance appraisal is suffering symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Another very real risk of injury or death that school teachers face every day is injury from violence, either directed at them or at the school children whom they have an obligation to protect. While horrific cases like Newtown or Columbine make headline news, teachers face acts of violence far more often than the mainstream media reports.
Injured Teachers and State Benefits Programs
State employees, like school teachers, have a variety of insurance programs available to them. These include health and medical benefits, including short-term and long-term disability benefits. They qualify for these benefits if they are a permanent full-time teacher or employee of a state-supported board of education or community college. These benefits are separate from workers’ compensation insurance for a school teacher who has been injured or become ill on the job.
North Carolina law also has provisions in which school teachers who are injured in an “episode of violence” may claim full salary for one year beyond their injury in lieu of workers’ compensation benefits that are based on lost wages. However, they remain eligible to receive all other benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act, including compensation for a permanent partial disability rating.
In some cases, disability benefit programs may reduce payments as offsets made in consideration of workers’ compensation payments. There are many variables, which makes it important financially for a school teacher to structure a workers’ compensation settlement properly. How close a teacher is to retirement, for instance, may affect the settlement.
Rules and regulations of the workers’ compensation system and state benefits programs change as new court cases are decided. Still, they are set up to allow those who understand them to benefit from all available programs.
An experienced lawyer from Hardison & Cochran can examine your benefits program enrollments and counsel you as to the best approach to your workers’ compensation claim.
Our Lawyers Help Injured Teachers in North Carolina
If you are dealing with an injury or illness suffered because of your employment as a public school teacher in North Carolina, it is important to understand the benefits available to you, including workers’ compensation. You could miss out on money you need for your recovery and a financially stable life if you lack a full understanding of your options. In some cases, you may also have a third-party legal claim for additional compensation if someone or some organization is responsible for your injury or illness through negligence.