97-18. Prompt payment of compensation required; installments; payment without prejudice; notice to Commission; penalties.
(a) Compensation under this Article shall be paid periodically, promptly and directly to the person entitled thereto unless otherwise specifically provided.
(b) When the employer or insurer admits the employee's right to compensation, the first installment of compensation payable by the employer shall become due on the fourteenth day after the employer has written or actual notice of the injury or death, on which date all compensation then due shall be paid. Compensation thereafter shall be paid in installments weekly except where the Commission determines that payment in installments should be made monthly or at some other period. Upon paying the first installment of compensation and upon suspending, reinstating, changing, or modifying such compensation for any cause, the insurer shall immediately notify the Commission, on a form prescribed by the Commission, that compensation has begun, or has been suspended, reinstated, changed, or modified. A copy of each notice shall be provided to the employee. The first notice of payment to the Commission shall contain the date and nature of the injury, the average weekly wages of the employee, the weekly compensation rate, the date the disability resulting from the injury began, and the date compensation commenced.
(c) If the employer or insurer denies the employee's right to compensation, the employer or insurer shall notify the Commission, on or before the fourteenth day after it has written or actual notice of the injury or death, or within such reasonable additional time as the Commission may allow, and advise the employee in writing of its refusal to pay compensation on a form prescribed by the Commission. This notification shall (i) include the name of the employee, the name of the employer, the date of the alleged injury or death, the insurer on the risk, if any, and a detailed statement of the grounds upon which the right to compensation is denied, and (ii) advise the employee of the employee's right to request a hearing pursuant to G.S. 97-83. If the employer or insurer, in good faith, is without sufficient information to admit the employee's right to compensation, the employer or insurer may deny the employee's right to compensation.
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