Are Domestic Workers Entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits in North Carolina?

Every state enforces different laws pertaining to workplace injuries and workers’ compensation benefits. North Carolina enforces some of the country’s most robust workers’ compensation laws, requiring almost every employer in the state to maintain workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Workers’ compensation aims to alleviate the financial burden that a workplace injury can cause for the victim and their family. If you have recently been injured at work or developed a medical condition due to your work duties, you may have grounds to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Unfortunately, the workers’ compensation laws of North Carolina do not apply to every worker in the state. As a result, some employees qualify as exempt from workers’ compensation coverage. This means that if workplace injuries occur, they cannot rely on workers’ compensation benefits to help them recover. Many people working while exempt from workers’ compensation in North Carolina are provided with alternative avenues of compensation if they sustain injuries. However, you should never assume that you are covered and should verify your exemption status yourself.

Exempt Workers in North Carolina

North Carolina requires all employers to maintain workers’ compensation insurance coverage, even if they have just one employee. However, state law exempts a few types of workers from this protection:

  • Most domestic workers are exempt from the state’s workers’ compensation requirement. A “domestic worker” is any household staff who may or may not live in the house where they work. Most domestic workers are nannies, elder care providers, in-home nurses, and au pairs. Some may have private agreements with their employers regarding compensation for workplace injuries. Others will need to consult reliable legal counsel to determine their best options after injuries from work.
  • Agricultural workers in North Carolina are largely exempt from workers’ compensation. Most agricultural employers in the state have specific work agreements with their employees. “Agribusinesses” and any agricultural operation that hires H-2A employees must have workers’ compensation insurance coverage under federal law.
  • Federal employees who work in North Carolina are exempt from workers’ compensation at the state level. However, almost all federal employees have generous compensation options available to them if they suffer injuries at work that are managed by the federal government.
  • Independent contractors do not qualify as full-time employees and are therefore exempt from workers’ compensation in North Carolina. Some contractors negotiate terms with their clients that dictate compensation for various contingencies as well as expenses, but these vary on an individual basis.

Some employers attempt to shirk their responsibility for workers’ compensation by misclassifying their employees intentionally. When this occurs, affected employees may struggle extensively before realizing the full range of their legal options. If you are unsure whether you qualify to file for workers’ compensation or if you believe your employer has misrepresented the nature of your employment, it’s vital to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. You may not only have grounds for a workers’ compensation claim but also further legal recourse and the ability to recover compensatory damages from your employer for their mistreatment.

Employers pay for workers’ compensation insurance similar to how anyone pays for any other insurance policy. The insurer offers different coverage options and sets premium prices based on the scope of coverage sought and the perceived risk level the applicant presents. A policyholder with a high risk of generating claims for compensation is likely to pay a much higher premium for coverage than an employer perceived to be “low risk.” When an employer has several employees file claims for injuries frequently, their insurance premiums are likely to rise in response.

Unfortunately, this encourages some employers to intentionally misclassify employees or interfere with their workers’ compensation claims. Some employers go so far as to fire injured employees, and affected employees may feel stunned and lost, not knowing how to respond to this kind of treatment. If you find yourself in any situation like this, or if you must file a workers’ compensation claim or any other civil claim for damages against an employer in North Carolina, the right attorney can make your recovery efforts much easier to manage and more likely to succeed.

FAQs About  North Carolina Domestic Workers Entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Who Is Exempt From Workers’ Compensation in NC?

North Carolina requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees with very few exceptions. Employees of the federal government working in North Carolina are exempt from the state’s workers’ compensation requirements, as are domestic workers and many agricultural workers. However, even if you are not an exempt worker, your condition may not qualify for benefits.

How Long Does Workers’ Compensation Last in North Carolina?

An injured employee can potentially qualify to receive ongoing disability benefits for several years following their workplace injury. Benefits typically continue until the claimant can resume their work duties. Then, if they must accept lighter work with lower pay due to their injury, they can continue receiving partial disability benefits to offset the difference in their income. Your attorney can help you maximize the time you qualify for your benefits.

What Happens If My Employer Mischaracterized Me?

If your employer intentionally mischaracterized you as a contractor or other exempt employee, but you legally qualify as a covered employee, they can face severe legal penalties and liability for your damages. If you encounter any disputes regarding the nature of your employment, you must consult an experienced attorney with your concerns.

Should I Hire an Attorney for Workers’ Compensation?

Legal counsel you can trust is invaluable for any workers’ compensation claim. Hiring the right attorney will make filing your claim easier, and it will be more likely to succeed. In addition, if you encounter disputes with your claim or if you have grounds for further legal action outside of workers’ compensation, an experienced attorney is the best asset you can have in these situations.

Christina Rivenbark & Associates can help you navigate the aftermath of a workplace injury in North Carolina. Whether you need help with a workers’ compensation claim, a personal injury suit, a combination of civil court proceedings, or help with any aspect of your recovery, contact us today and schedule a consultation with an attorney you can trust.

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