As of September 18, 2017, the North Carolina Industrial Commission will no longer accept any “filings for relief” or “responses to filings for relief” filed by a workers’ compensation insurance carrier’s claims adjuster or other employee. The reason for the change is that the Industrial Commission has concluded, along with state regulatory authorities, that submission of legal documents such as these constitutes the practice of law and requires an attorney.

Some documents that the Industrial Commission will no longer accept from adjusters include: Forms 24, responses to Forms 23, responses to Forms 28U, responses to Forms 18M, Motions to Compel Compliance, responses to Medical Motions, or any other requests for relief. After September 18, when the Industrial Commission encounters these documents filed by insurance carrier’s representatives, it will issue a rejection memorandum similar to this draft.

The new rule will not impact an adjuster’s ability to enter into agreements such as Forms 26A, Forms 60, or other death agreements.

This change may impact how an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier or third party administrator handles responses to motions filed by the employee (or the employee’s attorney) if such forms were previously handled by the adjuster rather than the attorney representing the employer and carrier.

TIP: HR professionals should continue to report claims as they arise and, as necessary, consult with their carriers, administrators, and attorneys to ensure that their workers’ compensations filings are being filed in a manner that complies with the Industrial Commission’s new guidance. As always, contact our team if you have questions about workers’ compensation or other leave issues.