Posted on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015 at 10:16 am
There is a plus side to the new North Carolina Worker’s Compensation law as it relates to vocational rehabilitation professionals. N.C.G.S. 97-32.2. can now be used to pressure the insurance carrier to resolve your claim and to get you retrained for new work.
Prior to the new law, vocational rehabilitation was rarely a viable option for the worker. It was a one-sided tool used only by employers and workers comp carriers. Now, under the new law, vocational rehabilitation has now been included in the definition of “medical compensation,” which means it must be provided under NCGS 97-25.
The employee can request vocational rehabilitation provided the employee hasn’t returned to work or is working but earning less than 75% of pre-injury earnings. Vocational rehabilitation includes education at a North Carolina Community College or a State University, so long as the education is “reasonably likely” to “increase substantially the employee’s wage earning capacity.”
Because vocational rehabilitation is costly (schools cost money for tuition and the worker needs some income while being trained), insurance companies now will be forced to factor in the cost of vocational rehabilitation in any attempt to settle all the worker’s compensation issues.
You may be entitled to more benefits as a result of the new law. If your education and work skills aren’t a good match for the new economy, you may be eligible for a full college or university education or other retraining. Joe Miller has helped other injured workers get retraining benefits in North Carolina. Please give us a call at Joe Miller Law at 888-694-1671 and ask for me, Joe Miller, complete my online form or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org