How Your Claim Affects Your Job
What if my company doesn’t want me to file a claim?
Many times, a small employer may offer to pay for you to go to the doctor and to pay a couple of days of missed days of work in return for you not making a claim. This is not a good idea because you are entitled to benefits under the Act in addition to medical care and wage replacement. For example, if you break your leg at work, you get payment for your medical treatment, time out of work, AND a cash payment for the disability rating you may receive at the end of your case (sometimes called “PPD” or “permanent partial disability.”) It is never a good idea to refuse to report your claim to the insurance company because you will not know how severe your injury is until you receive proper medical treatment. Also, the employer may not know that it is supposed to pay for PPD, mileage to and from doctor’s appointments, and prescriptions.
Also, your employer cannot fire you, demote you, or take any adverse employment action against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. This is a violation of the Retaliatory Employment Discharge Act (REDA). Any attempts to do this should be reported to the North Carolina Department of Labor.
What if I get paid in cash?
Some employers pay their workers “under the table” and in cash. This does not mean that the company does not have to pay workers’ compensation benefits. However, it will be your burden to show how much you were earning before your injury. If you are paid cash, it is a good idea to keep a weekly diary of how much you are paid, including overtime.
What if I can’t do my job after my injury?
If there is no work available at your job within your restrictions, the insurance company must help you find a job that fits within your physical limitations. An attorney can make sure that the insurance company does not try to send you back to a job that is unsuitable for your age, physical limitations, education, and experience.
Does my immigration status matter?
You are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even if you are an undocumented worker. The insurance company is not allowed to ask you about your immigration status. Although your job can fire you if it discovers you are undocumented, the workers’ compensation carrier cannot deny your claim based on your immigration status if you get hurt at work. If you are medically unable to work, the insurance company must continue to pay your time out of work even if you are undocumented.
What if I do not speak English?
The insurance company must provide an interpreter if the doctor’s office does not have someone on staff who speaks your language.