Workers' Compensation

Why can’t the adjuster pay me on time?

In most cases there is absolutely nothing that prevents an adjuster from paying you on time. It’s just a matter of her interest and inclination in doing so.

In some cases when the employer is self-insured they must send money periodically to the insurance company. In those instances we’ve heard adjusters use the excuse that they are waiting for money from the employer but that’s just an excuse. It is the adjuster’s responsibility to make sure she has proper reserves.

More often we suspect that the adjuster is toying with you. She knows that under current North Carolina law the check isn’t due for ten days after the time you missed work. Thus, if you missed the first day of the month the adjuster doesn’t have to pay you until the tenth. What if she doesn’t? Well nothing happens immediately. If she’s fourteen days late – the twenty-fourth- then the Industrial Commission “may” impose a 10% penalty. Thus, if the adjuster sits on your $500 weekly check for three weeks the NCIC might sanction her $50.

Mind you, the Industrial Commission is open to waiving that penalty if the defendants present compelling evidence that they shouldn’t be fined. In the past we’ve seen the Industrial Commission waive the late penalty for reasons which included “I forgot”, “my attorney didn’t tell me to”, and “I put in an order for it to be mailed… something must have happened.” More likely than not the NCIC will impose the penalty but questions certainly remain as to whether that’s a significant deterrent. We’ve had luck with taking a different approach and have obtained orders requiring an adjuster to pay timely. If there is a consistent failure to comply with this order we’ve been able to get sanctions with some teeth to them.

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