Navigating the Statute of Limitations for Filing Workers’ Comp Claims in North Carolina

By Jeremy Bradford
Founding Partner

Filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits can be challenging. However, one of the most crucial aspects to understand is the statute of limitations for filing your claim. Failing to file your claim within the specified legal timeframe can result in losing the right to receive medical and lost wage benefits. Knowing what steps you must take to file your claim and how long you have to do so can make all the difference in your ability to protect your rights after a work injury.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Workers’ Comp Claims in North Carolina?

After sustaining a workplace injury or discovering an illness related to work, you must notify your employer in writing. In all cases, this notification must be made within 30 days. Injured workers in Charlotte, NC, generally have up to two years from the date of the injury to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. In most cases, if you miss this deadline, you may forfeit your right to any benefits related to your injury.

If you file after the designated period, your claim will likely be denied, leaving you responsible for medical bills and lost wages. North Carolina law is strict regarding this matter, and exceptions are rare. Therefore, acting quickly and filing all paperwork within the designated time frame is imperative.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

When it comes to worker’s compensation claims, there are a few exceptions where the deadline might be extended. These include scenarios involving:

  • Employer Misconduct – The deadline could be extended if your employer did not inform you of your right to file a workers’ comp claim after your injury.
  • Occupational Diseases – For occupational diseases, the two-year period starts from the date the employee was first informed by a competent medical authority that they have an occupational disease and that it is related to their employment.
  • Mental Incompetence – If the injured worker is mentally incompetent due to the injury, the statute of limitations might be tolled until they regain competence.

Steps to Take When You’ve Been Injured at Work

The workers’ compensation process involves several critical steps. To obtain the benefits you’re entitled to:

  • Report the Injury – Notify your employer immediately, providing comprehensive details of how, when, and where the injury occurred. This should be done as soon as possible to avoid delays in your claim process. Ensure you follow up with a written report, even if you initially informed them verbally.
  • Seek Medical Treatment – Obtain medical attention as soon as possible, whether it’s from your company’s designated healthcare provider or your own doctor. Keep all records of treatments, prescriptions, and appointments. It’s crucial to not only attend all necessary medical appointments but also to follow your doctor’s recommendations and treatment plans to facilitate your recovery.
  • File a Claim – Complete and file Form 18 (Notice of Accident to Employer and Claim of Employee) with the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC). This form is essential for formally initiating your claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Make sure to keep a copy of the form for your records and confirm that it has been received by the NCIC.
  • Document Everything – You should keep thorough documentation of all communications, medical treatments, and any expenses related to your injury. This includes email exchanges, letters, and phone calls with your employer, insurance company, and healthcare providers. Having a well-organized record will support your claim and provide clarity if any disputes arise.
  • Follow Up Regularly – Stay proactive by regularly checking the status of your claim with your employer and the NCIC. If there are any delays or issues, address them quickly to avoid any disruptions in your compensation.

You can provide yourself with the best chances of securing the benefits and compensation you deserve by reaching out to a Charlotte workers’ comp lawyer. Your lawyer can file the necessary forms on your behalf and take various steps to protect your rights.

Call Our Charlotte Workers’ Comp Lawyer Today

Our team at Bradford Law has extensive experience helping injured workers in Charlotte, NC, recover the benefits they need and deserve after workplace accidents. Contact our team today for a free consultation.

About the Author
I am Jeremy Bradford, the founding and managing attorney of Bradford Law. From my offices in Charlotte, NC, I travel all across North Carolina helping injured people fight against insurance companies, in what could be life-altering circumstances. I have made a point to develop strong relationships with my clients. I take the trust my clients put in me personally and put myself into every case. If my client calls, my client will always be able to speak directly with me. You will get to know me as we work our way through the personal injury process. So when we make recommendations on whether to settle or go to trial, you will know your best interests are always at heart.