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North Carolina Workers' Compensation Laws

North Carolina is more than just the basketball capital of the world: if you work in the Tar Heel State, you know there is a proud lineage of workers dedicated to doing what needs to be done. Whether you studied at Chapel Hill or cater to tourists in the Outer Banks, if you are injured at work in this Southern gem, you will be thankful your employer is required to provide you with coverage for medical bills and other expenses under North Carolina workers' compensation laws.

Read the table and summaries below for more details on North Carolina's workers' comp laws.

Statute Section

§ 97-1, et seq.

Time Limits

Benefits Waiting Time

§ 97-28

  • Waiting Period: 7 days
  • Retroactive after 21 days

Mental Illness Coverage

  • Yes


Most employers in North Carolina are required to carry workers' compensation insurance, including trucking companies. However, most domestic workers, farm laborers, and federal employees are exempt. Even if you are covered by your employer's policy, not all disabilities are compensable. Disabilities resulting from occupational diseases, including asbestosis and silicosis, are compensable by law. Most disabilities caused by accidental injuries are also compensable, unless you were intoxicated at the time of the accident.

Courts in North Carolina have recognized mental injuries as a subset of occupational injuries. Injured parties need only prove that work was a contributing factor to the mental illness.


Vocational rehabilitation services, wage replacement compensation, and medical treatment are all available to injured workers in North Carolina. Wage replacement benefits are based on 66 2/3 percent of your average weekly wage, subject to a state-imposed maximum. If you are unable to return to your job due to your disability, vocational rehabilitation is available to help you identify and train for a new occupation.

Finally, your employer chooses your medical treatment provider and must pay for the treatment. If you wish to be seen be another provider, you must petition the Commission and show good grounds. Treatment from a chiropractor is limited to 20 visits -- additional visits must be authorized by your employer.

Dispute Resolution

If your employer's workers' comp insurance policy denies your claim, you may request a hearing before the Industrial Commission by filing a Form 33, Request for Hearing. At the hearing, you or your attorney will present evidence which supports your claim for workers' comp benefits. Evidence may include, for instance, testimony by your coworkers proving that your injury was caused by an accident; your physician, perhaps proving the extent of your disability; as well as documentation, such as your wage stubs or communications.

Get a Claim Review from a North Carolina Attorney

Workplace injuries can result in financial hardships, but your employer is required to carry insurance to protect you both. The no-fault system can be confusing, and some employees mistakenly believe they are not entitled to benefits when their own mistakes caused their injuries. If you were injured at work and need legal help, get a claim review from a North Carolina attorney.

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