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Significant Challenges for Injured Workers
There are many occupations that present hazards for workers. But when someone is injured on the job, many of these workers find themselves in for a major surprise when trying to obtain North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits.
There are very specific rules in place that require employers to have workers’ compensation insurance. In North Carolina, if a business has three or more employees, they must have workers’ compensation insurance, or show that they would be able to pay for any injuries suffered by their employees.
Those that do not could face significant penalties if this is discovered. A study by the Charlotte News and Observers stated that there may be nearly 30,000 businesses in the state lacking coverage.
One of the main issues in workers’ compensation cases concerns the employee’s status. Many employees are not termed to be employees at all; instead they are called independent contractors. This distinction is very important, because independent contractors are not covered by workers’ compensation laws.
Often, the situation will need to be examined to determine the employee’s status. The key questions often revolve around the control that the company has over the worker. If the employer is providing necessary equipment to the worker, and is able to state how and when the employee is to complete work, it could be possible that the worker will be labeled an employee.
However, employers often fight this classification, so it will be important for workers’ to protect themselves if they are injured on-the-job. If a worker does not protect these rights after an injury, they may be unable to claim benefits later.
Source: charlotteobserver.com “When bosses cut corners, Charlotte workers are vulnerable” Kerry Singe, August 18, 2012.
For more information about on-the-job injuries, please see our page on workers’ compensation.