5540 McNeely Drive • Ste. 202
Raleigh, North Carolina 27612 

History of Workers' Compensation in North Carolina

The need for a workers' compensation system evolved from the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain in the early 1800's. It later spread to Western Europe, Canada and the United States. As machines, manufacturing and industry developed and grew, so did the number of workplace injuries. Before the concept of workers' compensation, employees who were injured and unable to work had no other option than to file a lawsuit against their employer which many workers could not afford. Those that did bring suits were tied up in time consuming litigation. The employee also had to prove negligence in order to recover damages. This process often left the employee with no medical treatment or wages for long periods of time. Often the worker had to throw themselves on the mercy of welfare. This system also left the employer facing lawsuits for negligence, pain and suffering and sometimes, punitive damages. Both the employer and employee faced uncertainties. In order to balance the interest of both parties, the concept of the "workers' compensation bargain" arose.

The Workers' Compensation Bargain

The essence of workers' compensation is simply a compromise system to balance the interests of workers and employers. Laws provide that an employer will purchase insurance to cover their employees so that an injured worker would promptly be provided medical treatment and compensation, without having to prove the employer's negligence caused the injury. In exchange, because the employer pays for all work injuries regardless of fault, the injured worker gives up the right to sue the employer for work-related injuries in court in the traditional manner and there are limitations to the benefits the employee can receive.

Workers' Compensation Promotes Safer Working Conditions

One of the primary aims of the concept of workers compensation is to reduce workplace injuries. It creates an incentive for employers to keep a safe workplace since workers' compensation insurance rates increase with the number and severity of claims. For more information about the early history of workers compensation in the United States and how it has improved workplace safety, you can review more information from the Economic History Association.

The North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act

In 1929, North Carolina enacted the state's first Workers Compensation Act. Since then, the Act has evolved and continues to change. The Act requires employers who have at least three employees to purchase workers' compensation insurance and requires employees to file their claims with the North Carolina Industrial Commission rather than in court. Review the current version of the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act. Under North Carolina Workers' Compensation law today, in order to file a claim you must be able to show:

  1. An employee-employer relationship
  2. Your injury was caused by an accident or occupational disease
  3. The injury arose out of the course and scope of your employment 
  4. The injury caused a type of loss or incapacity which is covered under the Act.

Your injury was caused by an accident or occupational disease; The injury arose out of the course and scope of your employment; and The injury caused a type of loss or incapacity which is covered under the Act.

Your injury was caused by an accident or occupational disease; The injury arose out of the course and scope of your employment; and The injury caused a type of loss or incapacity which is covered under the Act.

Workers' compensation generally requires payment for medical treatment and rehabilitation, lost wages, and payment for a permanent injury/disability. As you can imagine, as any time payment of money is required for an injury, disputes may arise about whether benefits have to be paid and in what amounts. In North Carolina, disputes over whether compensation must be paid and how much is owed are resolved by the North Carolina Industrial Commission.


Contact Our Raleigh, North Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyers

If you have questions about your workers' compensation claim, or have trouble understanding workers' compensation terms or navigating the workers' compensation system, call us at 919.277.0161 or contact us online. Consultations about your case are free. We are happy to discuss your case and all of your options over the phone, in our office, or at your home, if you cannot travel. There are no fees unless we make a recovery for you. Our office is in Raleigh, but we handle workers' compensation cases statewide.
 

Hemmings & Stevens PLLC Law Firm Hemmings & Stevens PLLC
5540 McNeely Drive
Suite 202
Raleigh, NC 27612
(919) 277-0161