Disability Compensation Schedule
Work accidents in North Carolina do not always end with all injuries healed and a full recovery. Hundreds of workers and employees every year sustain injuries that leave them impaired for a long time, or even for the remainder of their lives.
A finger cut off, permanent hearing loss, crippling back pain or disfigurement are all examples of what can happen after a serious workplace accident.
How does North Carolina deal with disability resulting from such injuries?
In order to understand the different cases, we need to differentiate between:
Temporary Partial or Total Disability: The worker gets compensation for loss of wages and receives medical treatment until found able to return to work;
Permanent Total Disability: After receiving medical treatment, the worker gets compensation for loss of wages during a period that has recently been capped at 500 weeks;
Permanent Partial Disability: After receiving medical treatment, if the impaired worker can find a suitable and lower paying job, he or she gets compensation for reduced wages during a maximum of 300 weeks.
Alternatively, a worker with Permanent Partial Disability may elect to receive compensation, not for lower wages, but for impairment, that will be granted according to a fixed schedule (for scheduled injuries) or on a case by case basis by the Industrial Commission (for unscheduled injuries).
The N.C. Workers’ Compensation Act determines that an amount, generally calculated at two-thirds of the average weekly wage of the injured employee, will be paid for scheduled injuries during a period of time that depends on the nature and severity of the resulting impairment. For instance:
- 75 weeks for the loss of a thumb, 45 weeks for the loss of a first finger (index);
- 200 weeks for the loss of a hand, 144 weeks for the loss of a foot;
Further detailed provisions describe the compensation for impaired vision or hearing, while all injuries that cannot be categorized under the “schedule” are awarded by the Industrial Commission.
If you, or a loved one, has been seriously injured in a workplace accident, it is crucial for your future well-being that you do not allow the employer’s insurance carrier to make all the calculations and all the decisions. You should seek support from someone who will defend your interests.
Contact Joe Miller Law in Elizabeth City, where attorney Joseph Miller, Esq has been representing injured North Carolina workers for over 20 years. Call us locally 757-455-8889 or toll-free 888-694-7994 or send us an e-mail for a FREE, no commitment discussion of your case.