In North Carolina, if defendants are paying TTD benefits and have not timely and properly denied the compensability of the injured employee’s claim on a Form 61, or if the injured employee has not voluntarily returned to work, defendants must secure permission from the Industrial Commission to stop paying TTD benefits. One way to do this is through filing a Form 24 Application.
(There are instances when it is appropriate to terminate TTD benefits without Industrial Commission approval. I discuss these instances in my first blog post in this series.)
When is filing a Form 24 Application appropriate? Filing a Form 24 Application may be proper in the following situations:
- Return to work situations;
- Compliance situations; OR
- Miscellaneous situations.
This blog post will address specific situations involving return to work, compliance, and the catch-all “miscellaneous” scenarios.
Return to Work
For return to work situations, it may be appropriate to file a Form 24 if:
- The injured employee has been given an unrestricted, or “full-duty” release to return to work;
- The injured employee has unjustifiably refused to return to work; OR
- The injured employee has returned to work, but is subsequently terminated due to misconduct.
For compliance situations, it may be appropriate to file a Form 24 if:
- The injured employee has unjustifiably refused to cooperate with vocational rehabilitation; OR
- The injured employee has unjustifiably refused to comply with medical treatment.
BUT compliance situations require a little leg work before filing the Form 24 Application. Specifically, the employer must first obtain an Order from the Industrial Commission compelling the injured employee’s compliance.
Defendants must first:
- File a Motion to Compel Compliance with the Industrial Commission.
- State the specific grounds of noncompliance in the Motion.
- Provide supporting documentation with the Motion.
Once the Industrial Commission issues an Order compelling the injured employee to comply or cooperate with reasonable vocational rehabilitation and/or medical treatment, if the injured employee continues not to cooperate or comply, THEN file the Form 24 Application.
For miscellaneous situations, it may be appropriate to file a Form 24 Application if:
- The injured employee has failed to return an executed Form 90 (Report of Earnings);
- The injured employee has demonstrated earning capacity based on vocational rehabilitation reports or surveillance; OR
- The injured employee is incarcerated.
If you find an injured employee falls into any one of the scenarios identified above, filing a Form 24 Application with the North Carolina Industrial Commission may be appropriate. My next post will discuss how to successfully prepare a Form 24 application.
An employer’s chances of prevailing on a Form 24 Application depend on the specific facts of each case. If you have claim-specific questions, please contact me directly at (919) 863-8846 or firstname.lastname@example.org.