There are employers in many sectors of any state economy who do not choose to comply with legal requirements for maintaining workers’ compensation insurance. This can also happen in certain industries where the employer uses independently contracted help in completing specific jobs such as construction or delivery workers. This business relationship works well when all goes well, but it can be very problematic when a worker is injured while on duty and performing job responsibilities. So, what does a worker do when they are injured? Luckily, the fact that any employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance protection does not mean they are not still liable for injuries in certain situations. However, state contributory negligence laws will apply in the case, which can be an issue in states like North Carolina. 

Understanding Workers’ Comp Coverage

Workers’ compensation laws are not necessarily in place solely to protect workers. They also exempt employers from personal injury lawsuits when workers workers comp law in North Carolina

are injured on the job unless there is significant evidence of negligence or noncompliance regarding OSHA standards or other state laws. The potential for a negligence suit still exists against employers who do not carry required workers’ compensation insurance. Injured workers can still retain a workers’ comp lawyer and file a lawsuit, but the North Carolina pure contributory negligence law standard also will apply. Even 1% personal contribution to causing an injury can relieve the employer of financial liability in some situations. However, the material case facts will ultimately determine if liability still exists aside from causation defenses. Additionally, employers may still carry general business insurance protection that can apply under certain conditions. 

Proving a Personal Injury Claim

Requirements for winning a personal injury claim are generally standardized. The injured plaintiff must establish that an injury occurred and that the respondent is connected to causation in some way. They must then prove that the respondent also had a “reasonable” duty of care for the plaintiff and failed in that duty. Material evidence is vital in proving the failure component of a personal injury claim, as this is what will justify demanding financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and general damages for pain and suffering or ongoing issues dealing with the injury in the future. Claim elements can also include mental anguish associated with the inability to earn a living at the time, which can often maximize any injury claim. 

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Potential Damages

Damages in a personal injury lawsuit can also be much more substantial than a workers’ compensation claim, and this component of the claim is something that an experienced workers’ comp attorney can assist with. Workers’ comp pays 75% of lost earnings for qualified workers, but a lawsuit can result in whole compensation for lost wages when the employer has the ability to pay. If the employer uses general business insurance, the maximum cap of the insurance policy will be the extent of the insurance provider’s requirement to pay. The remainder must come from the employer. However, there are no caps in total damages as with workers’ compensation. Employers are also exempt from general damages in workers’ comp cases but can be sued for whole general damages in a standard personal injury lawsuit, and potentially for punitive damages in serious injury cases. 

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Contact Our Personal Injury Law Offices

Even though workers’ compensation may not apply, it is still best to have a workers’ comp lawyer who understands both employment law and standard personal injury cases, a workers’ compensation lawyer who can maximize the claim. The truth is that there are advantages and disadvantages to not having workers’ compensation insurance protection. The primary disadvantages are that benefits will not begin immediately and there could be a question with respect to who is responsible for medical bills when no other health insurance is in place. However, the major advantage is the potential for whole compensation with the only caps being the limited resources of the employer aside from any general business insurance they may have. This is a complex issue, we recommend you consult with an experienced attorney if you find yourself in the position of having to deal with a claim which is less than straightforward. 

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