Suffering a serious workplace injury is a life altering experience. Many victims in North Carolina spend weeks, months or even longer out of work. Workers’ compensation benefits are essential for these victims, as they provide compensation for things like medical care and lost wages. These benefits do not necessarily cut off when someone returns to work, either.
Ideally, recovering from an injury means returning to the same level of physical and mental well-being as before the related accident. This is not always the reality. Victims may still experience lingering pain or physical limitations which might not prevent them from returning to work, but might certainly limit what or how much they can do.
It is not uncommon for injury victims to return to work but in a limited capacity, either working fewer hours or in lower positions. North Carolina employers are not obligated to reinstate injured employees to their former positions, either. This means that these workers could be earning significantly less than they were before their accidents. Workers in this situation can still receive benefits, although usually for a smaller amount.
Workplace accident victims who cannot return to their former positions might also qualify for vocational rehabilitation, which provides training to find a new job. This may come as a surprise, as the workers’ compensation system can be confusing. It is not always clear what benefits a victim might qualify for or whether he or she qualifies at all, so seeking guidance early on in the process may be helpful.