For NC Industrial Commission
The North Carolina Industrial Commission is a state agency that administers and adjudicates the NC Workers' Compensation Act (Chapter 97 ofthe N.C. General Statutes) and the NC Tort Claims Act (Chapter 143 of the N.C. General Statutes). In addition, the Industrial Commission administers and adjudicates the Childhood Vaccine-Related Injury Act, the Act to Compensate Individuals Erroneously Convicted of Felonies, and the Law Enforcement Officers' Death Benefits Act, which also includes firemen, rescue squad workers, and civil air patrol members. On average, approximately seventy-five percent of the Commission's caseload is comprised of workers' compensation claims, with twenty-five percent attributable to tort claims, and less than five percent arising from the other Acts the Commission administers.
The Industrial Commission is comprised of seven Commissioners who are appointed to
six-year terms by the Governor. The seven Commissioners serve as an appellate body sitting on panels of three. In addition to the Commissioners, there are nineteen Deputy Commissioners who conduct evidentiary hearings as first-level hearing officers. An opinion or order by a Deputy Commissioner may be appealed to the Commissioners. Although the Commissioners may elect to hear a case de novo, appeals are generally based upon the record before the Deputy Commissioner. The Commissioners issue the fmal Opinion and Award of the Commission, which may be appealed to the N.C. Court of Appeals.
On average, 64,000 claims are filed with the Commission annually. This typically
results in approximately 1,800 hearings annually before Deputy Commissioners, and over 600 appeals to the Commissioners. Approximately ten-percent of the Court of Appeals' caseload is comprised of cases originating with the Industrial Commission. The Industrial Commission employs nearly forty attorneys, which includes Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners, Special Deputy Commissioners, and various staff attorneys.