The North Carolina House overwhelmingly passed a measure, 110-4, on Wednesday to overhaul the state's workers compensation laws.
The bill now goes to the Senate. But House passage ended months of marathon negotiations, and years of controversy, over a measure that affects thousands of North Carolina workers and employers.
The bill makes sweeping changes in the laws that affect workers injured on the job. Among other things, it:
-- Caps payments for most disabled workers at 500 weeks, or 91/2 years, bringing North Carolina in line with neighboring states. Now there is no cap.
-- The change would not affect workers currently on workers comp.
-- Extends temporary partial disability payments from 300 to 500 weeks.
-- Increases survivors' death benefits from 400 to 500 weeks and burial expenses from $3,500 to $10,000.
The House’s adoption Wednesday of H.B. 709 is “a huge win for the business community,” the Raleigh-based North Carolina Chamber said in a statement.
The bill, sponsored by state Rep. R. Dale Folwell, R-Winston-Salem, resulted from extensive negotiations involving labor, employer groups and claimant attorneys.