North Carolina Workers' Compensation law clearly spells out the medical benefits which may be covered in the event of a work-related injury. In general, any treatment or expense that would cure your injury, reduce your disability, or relieve your pain will be covered by your Workers’ Compensation benefits. This may include:
- Doctor appointments
- Surgical procedures
- Adjustable beds
Examination by a Physician
Your employer is entitled to require you to be examined by a doctor before medical benefits are covered. This examination must be conducted at a reasonable time and place. Refusal of reasonable medical treatment may result in the suspension of your Workers' Compensation benefits.
Your employer’s insurance company may pressure you into getting examined and treated by certain doctors who they consider to be “employer friendly” in an attempt to reduce or deny your benefits. However, you have the right to choose your own doctor as long as he is approved by the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
Medical Restrictions and Ratings
Doctors treating you for your work-related injury may also designate certain temporary and permanent work restrictions and rate your level of temporary or permanent disability. These restrictions and ratings will determine when and whether you are allowed to return to work, and if you can’t return to your previous job, what kinds of work will be allowable based on your condition.
If your injury has been rated as a permanent disability, you have the right to a second opinion paid for by your employer.
Nurse Case Managers
A nurse case manager may be assigned to your claim in order to aid in the provision of your medical benefits. All nurse case managers must be licensed by the state and follow the guidelines established by the North Carolina Industrial Commission. If you are unhappy with the nurse case manager’s dispensing of your medical benefits, you have the right to visit a physician of your choice.
Travel Reimbursement and Duration of Treatment
You may be entitled to reimbursement for travel expenses associated with your medical treatment, including mileage reimbursement when traveling more than 20 miles round trip. In certain situations, lodging and meals may be reimbursed partially.
Your medical treatment will continue for as long as necessary, as long as there is not a two year lapse in the payment of benefits. If you are in danger of such a time lapse, you may seek approval from the North Carolina Industrial Commission for anticipated future medical care.
Disputes over Medical Benefits
All disputes between you and your employer regarding Workers’ Compensation medical benefits are resolved by the North Carolina Industrial Commission. It is important to have an experienced North Carolina Workers' Compensation attorney represent you during this dispute to make sure your rights are protected.
Please contact our North Carolina Workers' Compensation lawyers today to schedule your free initial Workers' Compensation medical benefits consultation. White & Stradley, PLLC serves clients in and around Raleigh, Greenville, Winston Salem, Charlotte, Durham, Asheville, Greensboro, Wilmington, and throughout North Carolina.