Common Workplace Injuries

Injuries Covered Workers’ Compensation Laws in North Carolina

In general, to make a claim under workers’ compensation, you have to show that you have suffered an “injury by accident.” Section 97-2 of the Workers Compensation Act sets out the definition for an “injury.”

“Injury and personal injury shall mean only injury by accident arising out of and in the course of the employment, and shall not include a disease in any form, except where it results naturally and unavoidably from the accident.” 

Of course most accidents are obvious in nature, for example where an employee is injured by a falling object, is injured by machinery, falls from a ladder or scaffolding or is involved in a automobile accident on the job. However, some “accidents” and whether they are covered by the laws of the State of North Carolina are not as clear. It is important to consult with an experienced attorney who may be able to assist you if you believe you have an injury or medical condition caused by work.

Back Injuries - An Exception to the Rule

The standard for back injuries is different under workers’ compensation. Section 97-2 of the Workers Compensation Act sets out the definition for a “back injury.” 

“With respect to back injuries, however, where injury to the back arises out of and in the course of the employment and is the direct result of a specific traumatic incident of the work assigned, “injury by accident” shall be construed to include any disabling physical injury to the back arising out of and causally related to such incident.”

Therefore, the legal standard for proving that you hurt your back at work is more worker‑friendly than the legal standard for proving most other injuries. Back injuries are “compensable” (or covered) if you hurt your back in an “injury by accident” situation, or if it happens in a “specific traumatic incident of the work assigned” situation.

Occupational Disease - An Injury Suffered Over Time

In addition to an injury caused by an accident, some medical conditions suffered over time, called “occupational diseases”, may be covered under The North Carolina Workers Compensation Act. The term “occupational disease” or “industrial disease” refers to a long list of diseases workers have known to have suffered due to the environment at work or circumstances of their occupation. Section 97-2 of the Workers Compensation Act sets out a long list of medical conditions that can be considered an occupational disease and covered under workers’ compensation. Some examples, include: 

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Hemmings & Stevens Workers' Compensation Law Blog
North Carolina Advocates For Justice