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Determining compensation in permanent partial injury cases

A physically demanding job can take its toll on your body, and an unexpected workplace accident may limit your abilities for the rest of your life. If you find yourself unable to work, your employer should provide some form of reimbursement.

Laws regarding workers' compensation vary from state to state. In North Carolina, a permanent partial injury is severe enough to grant you significant benefits.

How does North Carolina define permanent partial injury?

During the treatment phase, your doctor will determine when you have reached a maximum level of medical improvement. If the injured body part is unable to recover to the full state it was in prior to the accident, then this is a permanent injury.

In addition to pinpointing the maximum medical improvement, your physician will assign a percentage to the injury that reflects the severity of the disability. Anything under 100 percent is a partial impairment. Taken together, these two factors result in a permanent partial injury.

The North Carolina Industrial Commission takes this information from the physician and calculates the appropriate compensation you should receive. It then falls to the employer, or the employer’s insurance company, to reimburse you.  

What is the compensation amount?

Because certain parts of the body may impede your ability to work more than others, the state considers the location of the injury when calculating compensation. It also takes into account the salary you received prior to the accident. The NC Industrial Commission calculates compensation in this way:

  1. Determine the injured party’s previous weekly salary.
  2. Deduct one-third of this salary.
  3. Multiply times the number of weeks of pay associated with the body part.
  4. Multiply times the physician’s assigned disability percentage.

The rate at which you will receive payments depends on the agreement you reach with your employer’s insurance company. The agency may wish to reach a settlement where it pays you a lump sum, but the amount may not equal the compensation you deserve.

What happens if an employer denies your claim?

If your employer fails to acknowledge your claim, you have every right to take legal action against the company. You can schedule a hearing with the NC Industrial Commission for further evaluation. In these situations, it can be valuable to have an attorney by your side to represent your interests.

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