Workers comp

Winston-Salem & Greensboro Workers’ Compensation Insurance Attorneys

Legal guidance for employers and businesses on workers’ comp in NC

In North Carolina, if a business has three or more full-time employees, it is required to provide workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ comp is a state-run program that offers medical and wage benefits for employees injured on the job, or death benefits to the family of an employee, whether injured through an accident or occupational disease. If a business fails to offer workers’ comp, or finds itself at odds with an employee over a workers’ comp issue, it may face extensive penalties.

The business law attorneys at Hartsoe & Associates, P.C. advocate for companies in workers’ compensation matters in the Piedmont Triad. A business must invest in their employees’ health and safety, and workers’ comp is a key part of this investment. Our lawyers can assist in implementing this program, as well as represent companies in defending false claims. Contact our offices today.


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Workers’ compensation in North Carolina

Workers’ compensation is governed by the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC), under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. The Act requires that all businesses with three or more employees “obtain workers’ compensation insurance or qualify as self-insured employers for purposes of paying workers’ compensation benefits to their employees.”

The umbrella definition of “businesses” includes:

  • Corporations
  • Limited liability companies (LLCs)
  • Partnerships
  • Sole proprietorships

The NCIC notes there are exceptions to the workers’ compensation requirement:

  • Employees of certain railroads
  • Casual employees, i.e., persons whose employment is both casual and not in the course of the trade, business, profession or occupation of the employer
  • Domestic servants directly employed by the household
  • Farm laborers when fewer than 10 full-time, non-seasonal farm laborers are regularly employed by the same employer
  • Federal government employees in North Carolina
  • “Sellers of agricultural products for the producers thereof on commission or for other compensation, paid by the producers, provided the product is prepared for sale by the producer"

Additionally, businesses where one or more employees are involved in work that involves either the use or presence of radiation are mandated to have workers’ compensation insurance. Covered employees also include minors and undocumented workers.

Is workers’ comp required for part-time employees in Greensboro?

Yes. When a company employs three or more individuals – whether they are full-time or part-time – it is required to provide workers’ compensation insurance to their employees.

Do individuals in Winston-Salem need workers’ compensation insurance if they are self-employed?

Typically, if a sole proprietor has no employees, he/she is not required to have workers’ comp coverage. Additionally, partners and members of LLCs are not counted as employees and are therefore not required to have workers’ compensation. However, officers of a corporation are counted as employees (although they may choose to waive workers’ comp). Employee classification can get tricky when it comes to insurance and benefits – Hartsoe & Associates helps employers untangle the red tape.

Are independent contractors covered under workers’ comp in North Carolina?

If an individual performs services for a company as an independent contractor, he/she is not entitled to workers’ compensation coverage. However, a variety of factors affect whether or not a person is an independent contractor for purposes of workers’ comp (and other benefits).

The NCIC points out that an employer is not necessarily relieved of its requirement to provide workers’ compensation coverage by categorizing its employees as independent contractors. Even referring to workers as contractors and issuing 1099s for taxes, the NCIC may still take a closer look at the worker’s individual circumstances when determining workers’ compensation matters. Hartsoe & Associates, P.C. advocate for companies in challenging workers’ comp claims.

What are the penalties for failing to carry workers’ comp insurance in NC?

Failure to comply with state requirements to provide workers’ compensation insurance comes with steep financial penalties and possible criminal charges. According to the NCIC, penalties for failure to carry workers’ comp include:

  • Financial penalties, including:
    • Business – minimum of $50 to $100/day, depending on number of employees
    • Individual – assessed cost of the claim as penalty
  • Misdemeanor charges
  • Felony charges
  • Prison

For example, if an employer fails to provide coverage for one year and is assessed a penalty of $100/day, the total fine would be $36,500. An employer would also likely be liable for the employee’s wage replacement and medical treatment, as well as any potential civil legal action. Penalties may be upgraded to criminal if the court finds failure to provide coverage as “willful.”

Our Winston-Salem business law attorneys work proactively to ensure our clients’ workers’ compensation programs are properly set in place and stay in place – protecting both employers and employees.

What types of injuries are covered under workers’ compensation insurance?

Typically, workers’ comp covers any injury that occurs during an employee’s course of employment. The injury may have happened at the workplace or during travel for work. Injuries that commonly qualify for workers’ compensation include things like falls, repetitive stress injuries, broken bones, and occupational diseases like respiratory illnesses or cancer.

However, workers’ comp typically does not cover injuries that:

  • Occurred while the employee was committing a crime
  • Occurred while the employee was off the job
  • Occurred while the employee was violating company policy
  • Occurred while the employee was under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Were self-inflicted

How does workers’ compensation insurance benefit a business?

Workers’ compensation insurance benefits both the employee and the employer. It provides medical care and wage replacement when an employee is injured on the job, and in turn relieves the employer of the risk of being sued.

Workers’ compensation insurance prevents a company from experiencing huge financial loss when an employee suffers an accident or injury at work. Ultimately, it is a legal bargain between an employer and an employee – the employee will receive benefits, and the company is protected from lawsuits.

Knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyers for employers

North Carolina law requires businesses provide workers’ comp insurance for their employees. Hartsoe & Associates, P.C. provides legal guidance on ensuring our clients’ programs are robust, and provide representation in the case of any employee challenges or claims. We represent business owners in Winston-Salem and Greensboro, as well as the Piedmont Triad. To schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney, please call 336-725-1985 or fill out our contact form.