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North Carolina lawmakers anticipate workers' compensation reforms

As North Carolina lawmakers wrap up the current legislative session and prepare for next year, many know that workers' compensation will be a hot topic. Between reports of thousands of employees without accident coverage and restricted access to public records, many workers are concerned about the assurance and protection they deserve while on the job.

As we reported on this blog last month, alarm was raised when it was determined that a state law makes it impossible for North Carolina employees to determine if they are in fact covered by workers' compensation insurance. One leader in the state house indicated that it will become a priority to address this lack of transparency.

Although many expect the issue of workers' compensation data to be addressed, others want to make certain that a few concerns are addressed. Initially, the data was kept private to prevent the data from being used improperly. Namely, insurance providers are concerned that they will face unfair competition on their rates if too much data is made available. In other words, lawmakers want to make sure that workers get the information they need without providing too much information.

Beyond the concern about making insurance data public, others have expressed the need to address "ghost policies" in the coming year. Subcontractors -- particularly in the construction industry -- purchase workers' compensation policies that may not actually provide coverage for those injured at a job site. This leaves employees in a tough position, since the actual construction contractor may not provide insurance coverage.

Both of these issues with North Carolina's workers' compensation laws could lead to disputes for injured workers and their families looking for assistance. In the case that contractors or subcontractors are involved in a workplace accident, injured workers may have the ability to seek a third-party claim in addition to workers' compensation benefits.

As lawmakers look to address the aforementioned concerns, it may be best to examine all available options to cover lost wages and medical expenses in the event of a work-related injury.

Source: The News & Observer, "Lawmakers say they will reverse course on worker comp law," John Frank, Nov. 29, 2012

  • Our firm has experience helping North Carolina employees understand if they have the ability to make worker's compensation or third-party claims. To learn more, please visit our Greensboro workplace injury page.

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