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What is the Industrial Commission?

Riddle Brantley LLP   |  January 19, 2015   |  

The North Carolina Industrial Commission was created by the General Assembly in 1929 to administer the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. Since then, the Industrial Commission has also been given authority by the General Assembly to administer the Tort Claims Act, the Law Enforcement Officers’, Firemen’s, Rescue Squad Workers’ and Civil Air Patrol Members’ Death Benefits Act, the Childhood Vaccine-Related Injury Compensation Program, and Compensation to Persons Erroneously Convicted of Felonies.

The Industrial Commission is comprised of a Commission Chair and six Commissioners, as well as several Deputy Commissioners and numerous staff personnel. To learn about the Commissioner Chair and the six Commissioners click here http://www.ic.nc.gov/aboutcomm.html. The Industrial Commission is located in the Dobbs Building, 430 North Salisbury Street, in Raleigh North Carolina, 27611. For contact information click here http://www.ic.nc.gov/contact.html.

If you have been injured on the job, the Industrial Commission’s website has several resources to help you understand Workers’ Compensation. While it is best to seek help and guidance from an experienced attorney, the information on the website can help you understand the overall process and help arm yourself with questions which are important to ask an attorney. To visit the North Carolina Industrial Commission’s website click here http://www.ic.nc.gov/.

On its website, the Industrial Commission has a list of five first steps that you should take if  you have been injured on the job. First, you should report your injury to your Employer and seek out appropriate medical treatment. Second, tell your health care provider that your injury is related to your work and the name of your employer. Third, inform the appropriate person at your employment that you have experienced a work related accident. Fourth, as soon as practical after the accident, and within thirty days, give written notice to your employer. There is an Industrial Commission Form that accomplishes this notice requirement. Fifth, follow your physician’s instructions for medical treatment. To read these steps in greater detail click here http://www.ic.nc.gov/claimants.html. These five steps are a great starting point. Of course, depending on your specific situation additional steps may need to be taken. It is always best to consult with an attorney to make sure you are handling your workers’ compensation claim in the most appropriate manner. If your injury is permanent, we recommend hiring an attorney.

The North Carolina Industrial Commission’s website also provides the forms which must be used when reporting information to the Industrial Commission. A Form 18 is the form that is used to begin a claim. This form must be filled out completely and submitted to the Industrial Commission when you have been injured on the job. To view a Form 18, click here http://www.ic.nc.gov/forms/form18a.pdf. The Form 18 can be downloaded, printed, filled out and mailed into the North Carolina Industrial Commission. The Form 18 is modeled to comply with the provisions of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 97-22 through 24.  Other versions of the Form 18 may be required if you have a claim for Lung Disease, including Asbestosis, Silcosis, and Byssinosis, or if you wish to apply for Additional Medical Compensation. As a Workers’ Compensation claim progresses, and as certain situations arise, different forms may be required to be submitted to the Industrial Commission. For a complete list of Workers Compensation Forms click here http://www.ic.nc.gov/forms.html. These Forms have been created in an effort to provide the information required by with the Workers’ Compensation Act to the Industrial Commission in a uniform manner. The Industrial Commission explains these forms and when they are applicable, however, legal counsel will be able to assist you in making sure the appropriate forms are used and contain the necessary information.

The Industrial Commission is also the Fact Finding court which will decide the outcome of your case. You are not entitled to a hearing before a jury because the industrial commission has exclusive jurisdiction to hear your case and determine all issues regarding your workers’ compensation claim. If a Form 33 is filed to request a hearing your case will probably be mediated prior to a hearing. If your case proceeds to hearing, a Deputy Commissioner will hear your case and make findings of fact and apply the Workers’ Compensation Laws to decide your case. After this decision, either party may appeal the case to the Full Industrial Commission where your case may be heard by three Commissioners. After the Full Industrial Commission makes findings of fact and applies the applicable laws to your case, your case could be appealed to the North Carolina Court of Appeals if there is an issue as to the interpretation and application of the Workers’ Compensation Act. To view a Form 33 click here http://www.ic.nc.gov/forms/form33.pdf.

In administering Worker’s Compensation claims, the Industrial Commission is bound by the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. The Workers’ Compensation Act of North Carolina can be found in Chapter 97 of the North Carolina General Statutes. These statutes have been enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly over the years and continue to be changed. To view the Workers’ Compensation Act click here http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/statutes/StatutesTOC.pl?Chapter=0097.

As cases have been decided under the Workers’ Compensation Act, these statutes have been interpreted by the Industrial Commission and the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court over the years. In advocating your claim, it is important to understand how these statutes are interpreted and applied by the Industrial Commission. Lastly, the Industrial Commission has set forth a list of rules to help guide claimants and attorneys. These rules may be found by clicking here http://www.ic.nc.gov/ncic/pages/comprule.htm.