Basics of Workers’ Compensation

In North Carolina, with a few exceptions, any employer who regularly employs three or more employees must have workers’ compensation coverage for the employees.  There are exceptions for agriculture, domestic services and certain logging employers.  If an employee is injured at work and suffers a compensable injury, the employer or the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier is typically obligated to pay for all medical costs which are authorized by the carrier, as well as all prescriptions and mileage to and from the medical provider, when the round trip exceeds 20 miles.  In addition, the injured employee, if excused from work by an authorized treating physician as a result of the compensable injury, is entitled to be paid 2/3 of his or her average weekly wage for the weeks the injured employee is excused from work.  The injured worker is not entitled to pay for the first seven days out of work unless he or she is out of work for more than 21 days.

Agricultural employers may be exempt from providing coverage and being subject to the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act unless they regularly employ 10 or more nonseasonal workers.  Sawmill and logging employers may be exempt from providing coverage and being subject to the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act if that operator employs less than 10 employees and saws and logs less than 60 days in any six consecutive months and whose principal business is unrelated to sawmilling or logging.

The medical and weekly pay benefits for an injured worker who suffers a compensable injury are no different for an undocumented worker or for a worker who is not legally employed.