In a recent North Carolina appellate decision, the plaintiff was awarded workers’ compensation benefits after a car accident. The appellate court reversed on the basis that the plaintiff had chosen to settle his personal injury lawsuit against a third party without the defendant’s consent and had gotten a disbursement of settlement proceeds. According to the appellate court, this meant he was barred from obtaining workers’ compensation under the Workers’ Compensation Act. The plaintiff asked the North Carolina Supreme Court to review.
The case arose when the plaintiff slipped while working with a manhole cover as a utility technician. He hurt his shoulder and neck. The city, his self-insured employer, accepted his claim for workers’ compensation. The city authorized his treatment with a particular doctor, who restricted him from working for a certain period. When that period concluded, the plaintiff asked for a note to stay out of work because he continued to be in pain.
While going to an office to get the note, the plaintiff got into a car crash and experienced a traumatic brain injury. He was taken to the hospital and asked his wife to call his supervisor and let him know about the accident. The wife contacted the supervisor and told him the plaintiff was in a car crash while going to get a note to stay out of work, and he wouldn’t come into work. The plaintiff also had a conversation with his supervisor, his safety manager, and other coworkers about his car crash.