The Industrial Commission of North Carolina is the administrative body that handles and processes all workers’ compensation claims throughout the state. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Industrial Commission, like most businesses and organizations throughout the country, has undergone many policy and administrative changes. Attorney Joey Hodgin highlights some of these changes in the video below:
Updates To Industrial Commission Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
People Encouraged To Email Commission Instead of Calling
Many of the individuals who work for the Industrial Commission are working from home. Therefore, if you have a question or need to contact someone at the agency, it is recommended that you do so via email. Since they are not with their normal office phones, leaving a voicemail message is not advised if you want a prompt response. The relevant email addresses can be found on the Commission’s Home Page under the “Sections” tab.
Blanket Extension Of Filing Deadline Has Not Been Granted
Although many deadlines have been extended for various things in light of the coronavirus, all deadlines for individuals who have an ongoing Workers’ Compensation claim remain the same. Although specific civil deadlines have been extended, this is not an automatic truth for Workers’ Compensation claims. You have the right to file a motion for an extension, but whether or not it will be granted is dependent upon each individual case.
The Industrial Commission has not issued an automatic blanket extension as of now for the following reasons:
- Parties have the option to file forms and other important documents electronically through the Industrial Commission’s Electronic Document Filing Portal (EDFP). Attorneys who wish to use the EDFP may register.
- Pro se plaintiffs and pro se non-insured employers can still file all documents by U.S. Mail, private courier service, or hand delivery; and
- The applicable rules and statutes pertaining to filing motions for an extension in time (whether related to COVID-19 or another reason) still apply.
Agreements Signed Via DocuSign Are Being Accepted
Since original signatures are not always possible given social distancing measures in place, the NC Industrial Commission is accepting agreements signed by one or more parties through DocuSign. However, it remains that an attorney cannot sign on behalf of an employee. The employee must still sign.
Telehealth Visits Encouraged In Place Of In-Office Appointments
With social distancing and an increasing effort to remain physically separate while COVID-19 continues to spread, telemedicine has become a standard choice for accessing healthcare across the country without having to go into an actual doctor’s office. This helps to decrease the likelihood of exposure for everyone. These telemedicine appointments will be treated no differently than in-person visits.
To stay up-to-date on any new policy changes, you can visit the Commission’s website.
Henson Fuerst Can Help
If you have any questions regarding Workers’ Compensation or would like to schedule a free consultation, call the experienced attorneys at Henson Fuerst at 919-781-1107 today.