Wage Payments

North Carolina

If your injury prevents you from working, you may qualify for lost-wage compensation. The amount of money you receive is based on the severity of your injury. In most cases it is a percentage of your average weekly wage (AWW), which is based on the wages you earned during the 52 full weeks prior to your accident. If you worked less than 52 weeks prior to your injury, your AWW is calculated using the weeks you did work.

Lost-wage compensation is subject to a seven-day waiting period. This means that for the first seven calendar days of your claim, you will not be paid immediately. If you are out of work for more than 21 calendar days, you will then be paid for the seven-day waiting period.

Keep in mind that there is a maximum weekly benefit mandated by the state. This number depends on your date of accident and changes periodically, so check with your adjustor.

Below are the most common types of wage benefits and the methods used to calculate them. If your claim is classified in one of the categories below, your benefits will be paid as described. Because North Carolina’s workers’ comp law provides for many different scenarios, this is not an all-inclusive list.

Depending on your situation, your claim may provide you with different benefits.

Temporary Total Disability

This means you are completely disabled, but are expected to fully recover and return to work. In this instance, you will receive 66⅔ percent of your AWW. Benefits are available until you return to work, or until your medical situation calls for a different treatment of your claim.

Temporary Partial Disability

In this case, you are still limited by your injury, but are able to work in some capacity. If you return to work, but your new job pays less than your previous one, you are entitled to temporary partial disability benefits. You will be paid 66⅔ percent of the difference between your AWW before your injury and your AWW after your injury. Temporary partial disability benefits will be paid for a maximum of 300 weeks.

Permanent Partial Disability

Normally, permanent partial disability means that you are permanently disabled, but still able to return to work in some capacity. The benefits you receive are based on the severity of your injury. North Carolina law lists dozens of different types of injuries, and specifies the benefit for that injury, in terms of the number of weeks of compensation due. For example, a worker who loses a thumb is entitled to 75 weeks of compensation, at the normal rate of 66 ⅔ percent of the AWW. If that worker had lost only partial use of his thumb, the benefit would be reduced, based on the percentage of use that was lost, as defined by the worker’s physician.

Permanent Total Disability

This means that you are completely disabled, as defined by state statute, and are not able to return to work in any capacity. In this case, workers’ comp will normally pay you 66⅔ percent of your AWW for the rest of your life.

Death Benefits

If a worker dies as a result of a work-related accident, dependents may receive workers’ comp benefits. A one-time payment up to $3,500 is usually available for funeral expenses. Normally, surviving dependents will receive 66 ⅔ percent of the deceased workers’ AWW, for up to 400 weeks. Benefits are usually discontinued when dependents marry, reach age 18 or otherwise become able to care for themselves. Summit claims adjustors specially trained in these types of claims will work with the employer to determine what benefits are due.

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