A recent study by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) found that the workers’ compensation system in North Carolina had the highest indemnity benefits per claim out of all 17 states in the study.
According to the study's results, the duration of temporary disability benefits is longer in North Carolina than in other states studied by the organization, and it also had higher lump sum settlements than many other states. Both of these factors led to higher indemnity benefits. Settlements are included in indemnity benefits in North Carolina, along with all of the other states in the study.
North Carolina’s workers’ comp laws were the focus of significant reforms in 2011. House Bill 709, the legislation that established these reforms, improved access to vocational rehabilitation, capped the duration of temporary disability and changed the definition of what constitutes “suitable post-injury” work. The law applied to all injuries occurring after June 24, 2011.
The data used in the WCRI study only included claims up to 27 months after the new legislation went into effect, so some believe this study can act as a sort of baseline to analyze the effects of those reforms in the future. Going forward, most temporary benefits will be distributed under the new rules, so it is likely the state will soon see decreases in the average duration of those benefits.
The study also revealed that North Carolina’s hospital costs are among the highest of all states analyzed. The average cost per claim after three years of experience was approximately 33 percent higher than the other states in the study. Indemnity costs were a full 62 percent higher.
If you need to file a workers’ comp claim in North Carolina, reach out to the dedicated injury lawyers at Lanier Law Group today.