Workers' Comp Statute of Limitations in North Carolina
In North Carolina, injured workers can seek coverage for necessary medical care and compensation for wage loss through the state’s no-fault workers’ compensation claims process. To bring a successful claim in North Carolina, you must comply with the workers’ compensation statute of limitations, or time limit for filing a claim.
In fact, if an injured worker fails to report an injury or to submit a claim before the statute of limitations expires, the case will be automatically dismissed. At Stewart Law Offices, our Charlotte workers’ comp attorneys offer a comprehensive explanation of the workers’ compensation process and all time limits involved in filing a claim.
Time Limits for Reporting Your Injury and Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Although the statute of limitations is the ultimate deadline for filing your claim, it is important to act quickly after any type of workplace accident. Quick action will help protect your health and your right to benefits.
How Long Do You Have to Report an Injury to Your Employer?
To start, injured workers have a duty to report their injury to their employer in a timely manner. The failure to notify your employer could be grounds to deny workers’ compensation benefits.
Under North Carolina law, every injured worker — or their official representative — should report an accident to an employer immediately or as soon as it is practicable. Notice must be given within 30 days of the date of the accident. If it is not, workers’ compensation benefits may not be payable.
There is no reason to wait to take action. If you do not know how to report your accident or if your employer is attempting to pressure you into concealing your injuries, you should call a South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer right away.
How Long Do You Have to File a Workers’ Comp Claim in North Carolina?
While it is a crucial and necessary step in the process, reporting your injury to your employer is not the same thing as filing a workers’ compensation claim. Under North Carolina law, the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims is two years from the date of the injury.
To be clear, this is how long you have to file your claim. If you fail to submit your application for benefits before the statute of limitations runs out, then your claim will likely be barred as a matter of North Carolina state law.
In general, injured employees can file their workers’ compensation claims by completing and submitting Form 18 to the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC). If you have questions about filling out the claim form, an experienced Charlotte work injury lawyer can help.
Statute of Limitations on Retaliation Claims After Workers’ Comp Claims
Sadly, some injured North Carolina workers are reluctant to report their accident or to file a claim for benefits. They fear that they could face some form of retaliation from their company — potentially even being fired — for filing for workers’ compensation.
In North Carolina, employers are strictly prohibited from taking adverse action against a worker simply because he or she filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. If you were injured on the job in Charlotte, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim.
If your employer takes adverse action against you for filing for workers’ compensation benefits, you should file a retaliation claim. Under North Carolina law, workers have three years to file a retaliation claim. However, if you wish to get assistance from the North Carolina Employee Discrimination Bureau, you only have 180 days to file your complaint with the state agency.
What Is the North Carolina Employee Discrimination Bureau?
As explained by the North Carolina Department of Labor (NCDOL), the Discrimination Bureau is the state government agency that is responsible for enforcing the 1992 North Carolina Retaliation in Employment Discrimination Act (REDA). When a worker files a complaint to the bureau, it has the power to investigate the claim.
As an example of how this works, consider a scenario where an employee was seriously injured while on the job in Mecklenburg County, NC. He immediately reports the accident to his supervisor and then files a workers’ compensation claim. A few months later, he is discharged from his position — allegedly for “poor performance.” However, he has reason to suspect that his employer is actually taking adverse action against him because he filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
After he was discharged, he files a complaint with the North Carolina Employee Discrimination Bureau. Because his complaint was filed within 180 days, the bureau will investigate his claim of unlawful retaliation. If the bureau finds the complaint to be accurate, it will attempt to resolve the issue with the employer directly — seeking a settlement for the worker. However, if no settlement can be reached, then the bureau will either file a lawsuit on behalf of the employee or it will send the employee a “right-to-sue” letter, allowing him to file his own lawsuit within three years.
What Is the North Carolina Retaliation in Employment Discrimination Act (REDA)?
The North Carolina Retaliation in Employment Discrimination Act (REDA) is the state’s general anti-retaliation statute. It provides much needed legal protections to employees who are engaging in certain protected activities. Most notably, REDA strictly prohibits companies from taking adverse action against workers because they filed a workers’ compensation claim or an occupational safety and health complaint.
In many cases, retaliation means termination. However, firing a worker is certainly not the only form of unlawful retaliation. Any adverse employment action could amount to unlawful retaliation under REDA.
If you were terminated or otherwise retaliated against for filing a workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina, you should call a lawyer immediately to learn about your legal options
Talk to a Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Now
At Stewart Law Offices, our Charlotte workers’ comp attorneys are strong, committed advocates for employees who were injured on the job or were retaliated against for filing a workplace accident claim. If you have any questions or concerns about the North Carolina workers’ compensation statute of limitations, we are here to help. For a free, no obligation initial consultation, please contact our law firm today.