Familiarize Yourself With Workers’ Compensation Changes In North Carolina

Previously, we talked about the importance of an employer being covered by workers’ compensation in the case of an accident at the office. Workers’ compensation gives both employers and employees coverage in regards to financial and medical aid if an accident leading to injury happens at the office. It is important to keep up to date on the latest workers’ compensation laws, as employers need to make sure they know what to do when dealing with claims.

North Carolina legislators have recently made a few changes to the state’s workers’ compensation laws. Of particular interest are changes in the “Willful Misrepresentation In Applying For Employment” section, which details the circumstances in which compensation for an injured employee would be barred. Grounds for barring compensation include:

  • An employee knowingly and willfully making a false representation as to his physical condition.
  • An employer relying on the false representation as a substantial factor in hiring said employee.
  • A causal connection between the false representation and the injury or occupational disease.

In light of these changes, employers should make sure that they implement internal policies for the hiring of new employees, with regards to current medical condition and the physical mandates of the position. If no such policy is in place, there are several steps an employer can take:

  • Conduct research for examples of solid internal hiring policies.
  • Add a confidential post-offer, pre-placement medical questionnaire as part of the company’s hiring practices.
  • Brief HR personnel on any new workers’ compensation procedures in the hiring process.

These simple measures can save an employer’s experience modification rate and workers’ compensation loss ratio. Before implementing any new procedures, however, it is recommended that an employer consult on these matters with an attorney. Knowing the specifics of workers’ compensation and any changes in state law will save a company both time and money.

Photo Credit: Flickr User wools

Out of State Workers

These economic times are trying for workers in every industry – especially construction. Contractors have to find work wherever they can. Oftentimes this means leaving their hometowns to travel out of state to obtain contracts. The problem is when contractors cross state lines, gaps in their insurance policies may surface.

Every state has its own statutory laws regarding benefits to injured workers and specific requirements for required coverages. Leaving your home state, you may enter a state with laws different from the ones that dictated your policy. In some states, sections require that you list specific states on your compensation policy to avoid being fined for noncompliance. These fees can amount to hundreds of dollars.

So, how can you avoid these gaps in coverage and the penalties associated with noncompliance? Before you enter into any contract out of state, discuss the coverage that you currently have with your insurance agent. Understanding the availability of your insurance carrier to provide coverage out of state will help to reduce the aforementioned gaps.

Remember that agents review your policy on a quarterly basis, and these intervals are good times to discuss possible changes in your travel schedule and home address as well as coverages provided by national versus regional insurance carriers.

Photo source: Jason Riedy