North Carolina Workers Compensation Reform – Nine Changes
Raleigh is our home base. I wanted to wait until the North Carolina Workers Compensation reform filtered out after Governor Perdue signed the bill into law on June 24, 2011. The best summary that I have seen on the Workers Comp reforms is from the Teague, Campbell, Dennis & Gorham law firm.
One of their attorneys, George Pender, did a nice job covering the Workers Comp law changes at a recent NC PRIMA meeting in Greensboro last month.
The major parts of the supposed reform are:
- Ended the make-work prohibition in return to work situations
- Temporary Total Disability capped at 500 weeks
- Temporary Partial Disability increased to 500 weeks
- Directed medical care by the employer
- Independent medical exams
- Communication with physicians
- Attendant care
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Scope of settlements
I wanted to quickly cover some of these points without just glossing over them. I will likely cover them in the next post or two as to not make the posts too long or boring. From the employer point of view, there are some wins and losses here. As Attorney Pender pointed out, the statute updates were a meeting of the minds between Republicans, Democrats, defense bar, plaintiff bar, employers and other players in the Workers Comp system.
As I have worked with claims in over 40 states, I wanted to compare other states with the same laws that were matched by the reforms. Some are great, while others concern me greatly. The North Carolina legislature did not “reinvent the wheel,” as most of these laws are already in place in different states.
The most important initial point is that almost ALL of the law changes pertained to claims that happened on or before June 24, 2011.
I will post on the bullet points next time with my opinion if it was a LOSS or a WIN for employers, TPA’s, and insurance carriers.
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