- Employment. - The term "employment" includes employment by the State and all
political subdivisions thereof, and all public and quasi-public corporations therein and
all private employments in which three or more employees are regularly employed in the
same business or establishment or in which one or more employees are employed in
activities which involve the use or presence of radiation, except agriculture and domestic
services, unless 10 or more full-time nonseasonal agricultural workers are regularly
employed by the employer and an individual sawmill and logging operator with less than 10
employees, who saws and logs less than 60 days in any six consecutive months and whose
principal business is unrelated to sawmilling or logging.
- Employee. -- The term "employee" means every person engaged in an employment
under any appointment or contract of hire or apprenticeship, express or implied, oral or
written, including aliens, and also minors, whether lawfully or unlawfully employed, but
excluding persons whose employment is both casual and not in the course of the trade,
business, profession, or occupation of his employer, and as relating to those so employed
by the State, the term "employee" shall include all officers and employees of
the State, including such as are elected by the people, or by the General Assembly, or
appointed by the Governor to serve on a per diem, part-time or fee basis, either with or
without the confirmation of the Senate; as relating to municipal corporations and
political subdivisions of the State, the term "employee" shall include all
officers and employees thereof, including such as are elected by the people. The term
"employee" shall include members of the North Carolina national guard while on
State active duty under orders of the Governor and members of the North Carolina State
Defense Militia while on State active duty under orders of the Governor. The term
"employee" shall include deputy sheriffs and all persons acting in the capacity
of deputy sheriffs, whether appointed by the sheriff or by the governing body of the
county and whether serving on a fee basis or on a salary basis, or whether deputy sheriffs
serving upon a full-time basis or a part-time basis, and including deputy sheriffs
appointed to serve in an emergency, but as to those so appointed, only during the
continuation of the emergency. The sheriff shall furnish to the board of county
commissioners a complete list of all deputy sheriffs named or appointed by him immediately
after their appointment and notify the board of commissioners of any changes made therein
promptly after such changes are made. Any reference to an employee who has been injured
shall, when the employee is dead, include also the employee's legal representative, dependents, and
other persons to whom compensation may be payable: Provided, further, that any employee, as
herein defined, of a municipality, county, or of the State of North Carolina, while engaged
in the discharge of the employee's official duty outside the jurisdictional or territorial
limits of the municipality, county, or the State of North Carolina and while acting pursuant
to authorization or instruction from any superior officer, shall have the same rights under
this Article as if such duty or activity were performed within the territorial boundary
limits of their employer.
Every executive officer elected or appointed and empowered in accordance with the
charter and bylaws of a corporation shall be considered as an employee of such corporation
under this Article.
Any such executive officer of a corporation may, notwithstanding any other provision of
this Article, be exempt from the coverage of the corporation's insurance contract by such
corporation's specifically excluding such executive officer in such contract of insurance,
and the exclusion to remove such executive officer from the coverage shall continue for
the period such contract of insurance is in effect, and during such period such executive
officers thus exempted from the coverage of the insurance contract shall not be employees
of such corporation under this Article.
All county agricultural extension service employees who do not receive official federal
appointments as employees of the United States Department of Agriculture and who are field
faculty members with professional rank as designated in the memorandum of understanding
between the North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service, North Carolina State
University, A & T State University, and the boards of county commissioners shall be
deemed to be employees of the State of North Carolina. All other county agricultural
extension service employees paid from State or county funds shall be deemed to be
employees of the county board of commissioners in the county in which the employee is
employed for purposes of workers' compensation.
The term "employee" shall also include members of the Civil Air Patrol currently
certified pursuant to G.S. 143B-1031(a) when performing duties in the course and scope of
a State-approved mission pursuant to Subpart C of Part 5 of Article 13 of Chapter 143B
of the General Statutes.
"Employee" shall not include any person performing voluntary service as a ski patrolman
who receives no compensation for such services other than meals or lodging or the use of
ski tow or ski lift facilities or any combination thereof.
Any sole proprietor or partner of a business or any member of a limited liability
company may elect to be included as an employee under the workers' compensation coverage
of such business if he is actively engaged in the operation of the business and if the
insurer is notified of his election to be so included. Any such sole proprietor or partner
or member of a limited liability company shall, upon such election, be entitled to
employee benefits and be subject to employee responsibilities prescribed in this Article.
"Employee" shall include an authorized pickup firefighter of the North Carolina Forest
Service of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources
when that individual is engaged in emergency fire suppression activities for
the North Carolina Forest Service. As used in this section, "authorized pickup
firefighter" means an individual who has completed required fire suppression
training as a wildland firefighter and who is available as needed by the
North Carolina Forest Service for emergency fire suppression activities,
including immediate dispatch to wildfires and standby for initial attack on
fires during periods of high fire danger.
It shall be a rebuttable presumption that the term "employee"
shall not include any person performing services in the sale of newspapers or
magazines to ultimate consumers under an arrangement whereby the newspapers or
magazines are to be sold by that person at a fixed price and the person's
compensation is based on the retention of the excess of the fixed price over
the amount at which the newspapers or magazines are charged to the person.
- Employer. - The term "employer" means the State and all political subdivisions
thereof, all public and quasi-public corporations therein, every person carrying on any
employment, and the legal representative of a deceased person or the receiver or trustee of
any person. The board of commissioners of each county of the State, for the purposes of
this law, shall be considered as "employer" of all deputy sheriffs serving
within such county, or persons serving or performing the duties of a deputy sheriff,
whether such persons are appointed by the sheriff or by the board of commissioners and
whether serving on a fee basis or salary basis. Each county is authorized to insure its
compensation liability for deputy sheriffs to the same extent it is authorized to insure
other compensation liability for employees thereof. For purposes of this
Chapter, when an authorized pickup firefighter of the North Carolina Forest
Service of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is engaged
in emergency fire suppression activities for the North Carolina Forest Service, that
individual's employer is the North Carolina Forest Service.
- Person. - The term "person" means individual, partnership, association or
- Average Weekly Wages. - "Average weekly wages" shall mean the
earnings of the injured employee in the employment in which the employee was working at the
time of the injury during the period of 52 weeks immediately preceding the date of the injury,
including the subsistence allowance paid to veteran trainees by the United States government,
provided the amount of said allowance shall be reported monthly by said trainee to the trainee's
employer, divided by 52; but if the injured employee lost more than seven consecutive calendar
days at one or more times during such period, although not in the same week, then the earnings
for the remainder of such 52 weeks shall be divided by the number of weeks remaining after the
time so lost has been deducted. Where the employment prior to the injury extended over a period
of fewer than 52 weeks, the method of dividing the earnings during that period by the number of
weeks and parts thereof during which the employee earned wages shall be followed; provided, results
fair and just to both parties will be thereby obtained. Where, by reason of a shortness of time
during which the employee has been in the employment of his employer or the casual nature or terms
of his employment, it is impractical to compute the average weekly wages as above defined, regard
shall be had to the average weekly amount which during the 52 weeks previous to the injury was being
earned by a person of the same grade and character employed in the same class of employment in the
same locality or community.
But where for exceptional reasons the foregoing would be unfair, either to the employer or
employee, such other method of computing average weekly wages may be resorted to as will most nearly
approximate the amount which the injured employee would be earning were it not for the injury.
Wherever allowances of any character made to an employee in lieu of wages are specified part of
the wage contract, they shall be deemed a part of his earnings.
Where a minor employee, under the age of 18 years, sustains a permanent disability or dies leaving
dependents surviving, the compensation payable for permanent disability or death shall be calculated,
first, upon the average weekly wage paid to adult employees employed by the same employer at the time
of the accident in a similar or like class of work which the injured minor employee would probably have
been promoted to if not injured, or, second, upon a wage sufficient to yield the maximum weekly
compensation benefit. Compensation for temporary total disability or for the death of a minor without
dependents shall be computed upon the average weekly wage at the time of the accident, unless the total
disability extends more than 52 weeks, and then the compensation may be increased in proportion to the
employee's expected earnings.
In case of disabling injury or death to a volunteer firefighter; volunteer member of an organized
rescue squad; an authorized pickup firefighter, as defined in subdivision (2) of this section, when
that individual is engaged in emergency fire suppression activities for the North Carolina Forest
Service; a duly appointed and sworn member of an auxiliary police department organized pursuant to
G.S. 160A-282; or senior members of the State Civil Air Patrol functioning under Subpart C of Part 5
of Article 13 of Chapter 143B of the General Statutes, under compensable circumstances, compensation
payable shall be calculated upon the average weekly wage the volunteer firefighter, volunteer member
of an organized rescue squad, authorized pickup firefighter of the North Carolina Forest Service;
when that individual is engaged in emergency fire suppression activities for the North Carolina Forest
Service, member of an auxiliary police department, or senior member of the State Civil Air Patrol was
earning in the employment wherein he principally earned his livelihood as of the date of injury.
Provided, however, that the minimum compensation payable to a volunteer firefighter, volunteer member
of an organized rescue squad, an authorized pickup firefighter of the North Carolina Forest Service
of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, when that individual is engaged in emergency
fire suppression activities for the North Carolina Forest Service, a sworn member of an auxiliary
police department organized pursuant to G.S. 160A-282, or senior members of the State Civil Air Patrol
shall be sixty-six and two-thirds percent (66 2/3%) of the maximum weekly benefit established in
G.S. § 97-29.
- Injury. - "Injury and personal injury" shall mean only injury by accident
arising out of and in the course of the employment, and shall not include a disease in any
form, except where it results naturally and unavoidably from the accident. With respect to
back injuries, however, where injury to the back arises out of and in the course of the
employment and is the direct result of a specific traumatic incident of the work assigned,
"injury by accident" shall be construed to include any disabling physical injury
to the back arising out of and causally related to such incident. Injury shall include
breakage or damage to eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentures, or other prosthetic devices
which function as part of the body; provided, however, that eyeglasses and hearing aids
will not be replaced, repaired, or otherwise compensated for unless injury to them is
incidental to a compensable injury.
- Carrier. - The term "carrier" or "insurer" means any person or fund
authorized under G.S.
§97-93 to insure under this Article, and includes self-insurers.
- Commission. - The term "Commission" means the North Carolina Industrial
Commission, to be created under the provisions of this Article.
- Disability. - The term "disability" means incapacity because
of injury to earn the wages which the employee was receiving at the time of injury in the
same or any other employment.
- Death. - The term "death" as a basis for a right to compensation means only
death resulting from an injury.
- Compensation. - The term "compensation" means the money
allowance payable to an employee or to his dependents as provided for in this Article, and
includes funeral benefits provided herein.
- Child, Grandchild, Brother, Sister. - The term "child" shall include a
posthumous child, a child legally adopted prior to the injury of the employee, and a
stepchild or acknowledged child born out of wedlock dependent upon the deceased, but does not
include married children unless wholly dependent upon him. "Grandchild" means a
child, as defined in this subdivision, of a child, as defined in this subdivision. "Brother" and
"sister" include stepbrothers and stepsisters, half brothers and half sisters,
and brothers and sisters by adoption, but does not include married brothers nor married
sisters unless wholly dependent on the employee. "Child,"
"grandchild," "brother," and "sister" include only persons
who at the time of the death of the deceased employee are under 18 years of age.
- Parent. - The term "parent" includes stepparents and parents by adoption,
parents-in-law, and any person who for more than three years prior to the death of the
deceased employee stood in the place of a parent to him, if dependent on the injured
- Widow. - The term "widow" includes only the decedent's wife living with or
dependent for support upon him at the time of his death; or living apart for justifiable
cause or by reason of his desertion at such time.
- Widower. - The term "widower" includes only the decedent's husband living with
or dependent for support upon her at the time of her death or living apart for justifiable
cause or by reason of her desertion at such time.
- Adoption. - The term "adoption" or "adopted" means legal adoption
prior to the time of the injury.
- Singular. - The singular includes the plural and the masculine includes the feminine and
- Hernia. - In all claims for compensation for hernia or rupture, resulting from injury by
accident arising out of and in the course of the employee's employment, it must be
definitely proven to the satisfaction of the Industrial Commission:
- That there was an injury resulting in hernia or rupture.
- That the hernia or rupture appeared suddenly.
- [Note: Repealed by Session Laws 1987, c. 729, s. 2, effective August 5, 1987.]
- That the hernia or rupture immediately followed an accident. Provided, however, a hernia
shall be compensable under this Article if it arises out of and in the course of the
employment and is the direct result of a specific traumatic incident of the work assigned.
- That the hernia or rupture did not exist prior to the accident for which compensation is
All hernia or rupture, inguinal, femoral or otherwise, so proven to be the
result of an injury by accident arising out of and in the course of employment, shall be
treated in a surgical manner by a radical operation. If death results from such operation,
the death shall be considered as a result of the injury, and compensation paid in
accordance with the provisions of G.S. §97-38. In nonfatal cases,
if it is shown by special examination, as provided in G.S. §97-27, that the
injured employee has a disability resulting after the operation, compensation for such
disability shall be paid in accordance with the provisions of this Article.
In case the injured employee refuses to undergo the radical operation for the cure of
said hernia or rupture, no compensation will be allowed during the time such refusal
continues. If, however, it is shown that the employee has some chronic disease, or is
otherwise in such physical condition that the Commission considers it unsafe for the
employee to undergo said operation, the employee shall be paid compensation in accordance
with the provisions of this Article.
- Medical Compensation. – The term "medical compensation" means medical,
surgical, hospital, nursing, and rehabilitative services, including, but not
limited to, attendant care services prescribed by a health care provider
authorized by the employer or subsequently by the Commission, vocational
rehabilitation, and medicines, sick travel, and other treatment, including
medical and surgical supplies, as may reasonably be required to effect a
cure or give relief and for such additional time as, in the judgment of the
Commission, will tend to lessen the period of disability; and any original
artificial members as may reasonably be necessary at the end of the healing
period and the replacement of such artificial members when reasonably
necessitated by ordinary use or medical circumstances.
- Health care provider. - The term "health care provider" means physician,
hospital, pharmacy, chiropractor, nurse, dentist, podiatrist, physical therapist,
rehabilitation specialist, psychologist, and any other person providing medical care
pursuant to this Article.
- Managed care organization. -- The term "managed care organization" means a
preferred provider organization or a health maintenance organization regulated under
Chapter 58 of the General Statutes. "Managed care organization" also means a
preferred provider benefit plan of an insurance company, hospital, or medical service
corporation in which utilization review or quality management programs are used to manage
the provision of health care services and benefits under this Chapter.
- Suitable employment. – The term "suitable employment" means employment offered to the
employee or, if prohibited by the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1324a,
employment available to the employee that (i) prior to reaching maximum medical improvement
is within the employee's work restrictions, including rehabilitative or other noncompetitive
employment with the employer of injury approved by the employee's authorized health care
provider or (ii) after reaching maximum medical improvement is employment that the employee
is capable of performing considering the employee's preexisting and injury-related physical
and mental limitations, vocational skills, education, and experience and is located within
a 50‑mile radius of the employee's residence at the time of injury or the employee's
current residence if the employee had a legitimate reason to relocate since the date of
injury. No one factor shall be considered exclusively in determining suitable employment.
(1929, c. 120, s. 2; 1933, c. 448; 1939, c. 277, s. 1; 1943, c. 543; c. 672, s. 1; 1945, c. 766;
1947, c. 698; 1949, c. 399; 1953, c. 619; 1955, c. 644; c. 1026, s. 1; c. 1055; 1957, c. 95; 1959,
c. 289; 1961, cc. 231, 235; 1967, c. 1229, s. 1; 1969, c. 206, s. 2; c. 707; 1971, c. 284,
s. 1; c. 1231, s. 1; 1973, c. 521, ss. 1, 2; c. 763, ss. 1-3; c. 1291, s. 14; 1975, c.
266, s. 1; c. 284, ss. 2, 3; c. 288; c. 718, s. 3; c. 817, s. 1; 1977, c. 419; c. 893, s.
1; 1979, cc. 86, 374; c. 516, ss. 4, 5; c. 714, s. 3; 1981, c. 421, ss. 1, 2; 1983, c.
833; 1983 (Reg. Sess., 1984), c. 1042, s. 1; 1985, cc. 133, 144; 1987, c. 729, ss. 1, 2;
1991, c. 703, s. 1; 1993, c. 389, s. 3; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 679, ss. 2.6, 10.7;
1995, c. 517, s. 35; 1999-219, s. 4.2; 1999-418, s. 1; 1999-456, s. 33(c);
2001-204, ss. 1, 1.1, 2; 2003; 2011; 2013-155, s. 5; 2013-198, s. 25; 2014-64, s. 2(c).)