According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were nearly 200 fatal work injuries in North Carolina. In 2016, there were more than 71,000 nonfatal workplace injuries and illness reported by employers.
Work-related accidents aren’t just bad for employees and families. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates employer payments of almost $1 billion per week for direct workers’ compensation costs.
Below, we take a closer look at work-related injuries and fatalities in North Carolina, including what types of jobs pose the greatest risk, and what to do if you ever suffer a workplace injury.
Injuries & Fatalities: By the Numbers
Workplace Injuries in North Carolina
According to the BLS, in 2016, North Carolina was among 13 states and District of Columbia that had an accident incident rate that was lower than the national rate of 2.9. In 2016, North Carolina had a workplace accident rate of 2.5.
Of 70,500 reported cases, almost 38,000 were severe enough that the employee missed work, received a job transfer, or was put on work restriction.
Nearly all recorded cases (95.2 percent) involved an injury; less than 4,000 cases involved a workplace illness, which included things like skin disorders, hearing loss, and respiratory illness.
Private industry jobs including those in manufacturing, trade, transportation, utilities, education, and health services were among those with the highest rate of injury incident.
Workplace Fatalities in North Carolina
There’s been a slow uptick of workplace fatalities in North Carolina since 2013. In 2016, 174 people were killed in a work-related accident.
Sixty-eight of these deaths were the result of a transportation accident; workplace violence and animals accounted for 35 fatalities. Slips, trips, and falls were the third leading causes of workplace fatality.
North Carolina’s private construction sector and specialty trade contracting had the most recorded cases of workplace fatality in 2016, followed by private warehousing and transportation.
Ninety-percent of workplace fatalities involved men, and most were between the age of 25 and 54.
Most of the fatalities recorded in the transportation sector included accidents involving semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and other heavy commercial vehicles.
Workers’ Compensation: What You Need to Know
Workers’ compensation is available to injured workers and their families. However, the nature of the accident, injury, illness, or death may be disputed, and in some cases, victims are not fairly compensated.
If you were performing work responsibilities when you were injured, and if you feel like your injury is not being fairly compensated, an experienced workers’ comp lawyer can help protect your rights.
Workers’ compensation is available to cover the cost of:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Permanent disability
- Catastrophic injury benefits
- Job training and education
- Death benefits for dependent family members
Generally speaking, workers’ comp benefits equal two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wages. In cases involving permanent disability or death, these benefits may be paid in perpetuity.
Click here to explore our video library, which includes more information about workers’ compensation laws in North Carolina.
The best way to ensure coverage is to report all accidents, injuries, and illnesses right away and to seek medical attention.
In North Carolina, workers have 30 days to report an injury in writing to their employer. Workers will also need to file the claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
The Commission will decide the claim approximately two weeks after the claim is filed. Among other things, the Commission will review medical documentation regarding the injury, which is why it’s very important injured workers seek immediate medical aid and follow all the medical instructions given. This includes attending follow up appointments and all medication recommendations.
If the Commission denies the claim, contact our North Carolina law firm immediately.
An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can be a valuable ally as you work toward a fair workers’ comp agreement.