In North Carolina, if you suffered injuries due to a job-related task, you are entitled to compensation for lost wages and medical care. Generally, you can receive benefits until you settle your claim or until you return to work.
However, returning to work does not automatically disqualify you from receiving ongoing workers’ compensation benefits.
How do you know if you can return to work?
To return to work, you need your physician to clear you for work. In North Carolina, you must have suitable employment to return to. For example, your employer may find a different position for you to fill while you continue to recover. There may be work-related tasks that you cannot perform while healing.
Your case manager will speak with your employer and your employer will provide a job description. If suitable, you may return to work to fulfill that role.
How can you continue to receive benefits if you return to work?
If you have restrictions that do not allow you to work in your previous capacity, you will still receive workers’ compensation for medical care. If you have to return to work under temporary disability and work for a lower wage, then you may receive the difference between your pre-injury wage and your current wage. Until you can work without restrictions at your previous wage, you may be able to receive lost wages. However, your workers’ compensation should continue to pay medical bills while you heal.
Workers’ compensation will stop, however, if you accept a settlement.