Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation claims involve accidents that took place while you were at work. The system is designed to provide injured workers with benefits for their missed wages and related medical expenses. Although this seems straightforward, there are instances where disputes arise regarding whether a claimant is entitled to benefits, the type of benefits they should receive, or whether the injury they suffered was related to the course and scope of their employment. One of the best ways you can ensure that you receive the fair treatment you deserve after a work injury is by retaining an experienced Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney.

In a recent claim, the North Carolina Court of Appeal considered a claim involving a nurse who appealed the denial of compensation for her workers’ compensation claim. Plaintiff slipped and fell on her right side in her home in July 2015 and did not seek treatment until September 2015. She did not have health insurance when she fell. Her employer offered her a job as a licensed practical nurse. She met the physical criteria for the job, and she was hired in September 2015 and promoted to full-time status in October 2015. She received health benefits three months after being hired. She received medical treatment for her slip and fall injury and the doctor recommended a total hip replacement as the treatment of choice, but plaintiff opted to manage it conservatively until she was eligible for leave under FMLA.

In March 2016, plaintiff was working in a patient’s room when her feet became tangled in oxygen tubing and she fell on her left side. She sought medical treatment during which the doctor observed issues with her hip. She was assigned work restrictions, which her employer acknowledged. Plaintiff then sought workers’ compensation benefits and the defendant employer challenged the claim on the basis that her work injury was not the primary cause of her need for treatment. The court agreed with the defendant finding that the plaintiff had failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that her fall aggravated her pre-existing injury and was the causal factor in her need for a total right hip replacement.

Continue reading

Workers’ compensation claims can take a long time to resolve and even if you have been awarded benefits something can change in your claim to deprive you of continued payments. One example of how this can happen is if there is a change in your condition. If you were hurt at work, retaining a seasoned Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney can help you ensure that your claim is being handled appropriately and that you are receiving the compensation that you deserve. Contact Maurer Law today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

In a recent claim dispute, the worker suffered an injury to her wrist while working as a flight attendant in 2014. The injury required the plaintiff to stop working and continue receiving medical treatment for the injury over a long period of time. A year later, the plaintiff’s wrist was still tender, but a reviewing physician could not figure out why the pain was persisting. The next year, the plaintiff returned to work without restrictions, which required her to undergo training as a flight attendant. This training required the plaintiff to show that she could lift up to 55 pounds. The plaintiff passed the test and began working later that month.

During a hearing regarding her claim for benefits, however, the plaintiff testified that she experienced extreme pain in her wrist during the training but did not report it to anyone. The plaintiff was awarded a lump sum payment for her permanent partial disability, which she accepted, and continued working. Later that year, the plaintiff reported increasing pain to her employer and was authorized to return to her doctor for treatment. During the examination, plaintiff stated that she was able to perform all of her required job duties, but the doctor assigned temporary restrictions including not lifting more than five pounds. The plaintiff continued to work and did not request to be excused based on her injury.

Continue reading

Workers’ compensation claims can be incredibly confusing. The system is not always straightforward, and it can be difficult to know whether you are receiving the treatment that you deserve. At Maurer Law, we provide compassionate and diligent legal counsel to individuals throughout North Carolina who may have been hurt at work. We understand how frustrating this experience may be for you and your family. Contact us today to begin learning about how our Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyers can assist you with your claim.

A recent workers’ compensation case discussed a few key procedural rules and determinations. The plaintiff in the case appealed a decision from the workers’ compensation commission stating that it erred in determining that he was not disabled and that his post-injury job was suitable employment. The plaintiff worked as a pipe fitter for many years. He was operating a scissor lift at work when the equipment malfunctioned causing him to be thrown. He returned to work after his injury but was restricted to light duty work and was unable to drive while taking his prescribed pain medication. After two years of treatment, the plaintiff was assigned permanent work restrictions including being prohibited from lifting more than 20 pounds, being required to alternate between sitting and standing, and wearing a brace while working.

The plaintiff was put on “helper” positions and he filed a Form 33 “Request for a Hearing” to determine whether his jobs were suitable. The commissioner presiding at the hearing concluded that the plaintiff did not meet his burden of proving that he was disabled and therefore the question of whether his employment was suitable was not discussed. His request for total and temporary partial disability benefits was denied. The Full Commission affirmed this finding and the plaintiff appealed again.

Continue reading

If you are injured in an accident, one of the first questions that you will need to address is where you should file your claim for compensation. If your injury took place during the course and scope of your employment, then it is governed by the North Carolina workers’ compensation system and must be filed with the workers’ compensation department. If it did not happen in a work-related situation, then you can likely pursue compensation in the regular civil court system. Some factual scenarios raise complex issues regarding whether an injury took place within the course and scope of the injured party’s work duties. Another issue with jurisdiction involves situations where an employee was injured in one state but resides in another state. The state of residency may dispute that it has jurisdiction over the injury. As seasoned Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyers, Maurer Law is ready to help you ensure that your claim is filed in the right place.

In a recent appellate opinion, the North Carolina appellate court was asked to consider whether an injury claim fell within workers’ compensation jurisdiction. The plaintiff, a North Carolina resident, alleged that he was hurt while working as a construction worker in Virginia. The employer was based in Tennessee and hires employees to work on specific projects. The plaintiff had worked for the employer on multiple occasions including pipelines in Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia.

He originally filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits in Virginia and he received benefit payments. The plaintiff later filed a voluntary dismissal of the claim and refiled it in North Carolina with the state’s workers’ compensation commission.  The North Carolina workers’ compensation commission denied the plaintiff’s claim on the basis that it did not have jurisdiction to oversee his claim. The employer then filed a motion to dismiss the claim pending any evidence that the claim belonged in North Carolina. The plaintiff responded by offering evidence of his North Carolina residence and that his wages were deposited into a North Carolina account. The court disagreed with plaintiff and dismissed his claim.

Continue reading

Injury accidents can result in a wide variety of conditions and disabilities. Some instances are relatively minor but there are occasions in which the victim is left with permanent disabilities that will impact their well-being for the rest of their lives. The workers’ compensation system is designed to provide injured workers with benefit payments and medical expenses reimbursements in the event that they are injured. When a worker’s injury changes over time, however, many insurance companies take this as an opportunity to avoid having to continue paying benefits. The diligent team of Charlotte work injury lawyers at Maurer Law are ready to ensure that you receive the fair outcome that you deserve.

In a recent case, the injured worker suffered injuries to her face, head, neck, and right shoulder during a work-related accident in 1995. She filed a workers’ compensation claim, which was litigated on numerous occasions during the following two decades to determine which expenses were compensable. An award in 2003 left open the issue of whether the plaintiff was entitled to permanent partial disability payments for her right shoulder injury until a doctor was able to conclude that the plaintiff reached maximum medical improvement.

The plaintiff underwent several treatments and exams regarding the right shoulder injury. In 2011, the plaintiff filed an occupational disease claim for upper extremity conditions she suffered due to the repetitive nature of her job duties. The commission denied the request and also concluded that she had failed to satisfy the standard of an occupational disease.

Continue reading

The North Carolina workers’ compensation system is meant to provide compensation for workers who are injured during the course and scope of employment. This can create some legal issues when it comes to determining whether an injury was work-related or not. If the injury happened in the course and scope of employment, then the worker’s sole remedy for compensation is through the workers’ compensation claims process and not in civil court. If you have been injured and believe that it may be related to your employment or have questions about your right to compensation, contact a seasoned Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer immediately.

In a recent claim, the plaintiff appealed from a dismissal of her complaint against her employer, asserting a claim for negligence. The lower court determined that the events giving rise to her claim happened in the course and scope of employment and that as a result, the workers’ compensation system was her sole remedy. In the case, the plaintiff suffered from a mental illness and had been out of work for some time. She eventually began work for the employer, a bank. Shortly after receiving a promotion at the bank, the mental illness resurfaced. The bank put the plaintiff on short-term disability as a result of her condition and inability to perform her duties.

The plaintiff eventually returned to work on a limited schedule but was unable to perform the duties that her employer expected. She asked to be transferred, but the request was denied, and her doctor eventually took her out of work and diagnosed her as bipolar.

Continue reading

If you are hurt on the job, you may suffer a temporary injury that allows you to still perform some tasks. In this situation, the employer may be required to offer you a position that fits your disability. Determining the tasks that you can safely perform, however, can be difficult. In some instances, the employer may not offer an appropriate job and may argue that your refusal to take the job is a refusal that warrants revoking your benefits. As dedicated Charlotte work injury lawyers we are ready to help you fight for the treatment that you deserve.

In a recent case, the employee allegedly hurt himself at work when he slipped and fell. He sought medical treatment, which his employer paid for through its insurance carrier. He underwent additional treatment with no improvement, eventually requiring surgery. Several months later, the worker was designated as having reached maximum medical improvement with certain limitations including permanent work restrictions on what he could lift. During the following weeks, the plaintiff continued to complain of pain.

The worker eventually suggested that his truck driver position was beyond the scope of his work limitations, so the employer provided him with a position as part of the loading crew and assured him that it would not conflict with the lifting restrictions. The description, however, said that the worker must be required to lift 50 pounds on occasion, use his or her hands and wrists, and grasp objects repetitively. The worker attempted to perform these tasks, but experienced pain quickly.

Continue reading

A key aspect of any workers’ compensation case is showing that your injury arose from the course and scope of your employment. If you are unable to demonstrate this, then you will not be awarded benefits and medical expense reimbursements. The diligent team of Charlotte work injury lawyers at Maurer Law have guided countless individuals through the benefit claims process and we are prepared to assist you.

In a recent claim, a worker was a transporter who was responsible for loading 100-pound to 200-pound tires into a tractor-trailer and delivering them. Sometimes he would unload the tires himself and he would make anywhere between four and 12 deliveries each day. Reportedly, while making a delivery in 2015, a tire fell from the truck and hit him in the chest. It bounced and hit him in the chest again. He was later taken to an urgent care center. It was later determined that he suffered an aortic dissection and collapsed lung, requiring him to be admitted to the ICU.

As a result of his injury, plaintiff’s physician instructed him that he would not be able to lift more than 40-pounds indefinitely. The doctor’s medical opinion concluded that the plaintiff was permanently disabled and incapable of returning to work.

Continue reading

One of the biggest questions we receive as North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers is whether a work injury is covered under the system. The system is designed to provide compensation for injuries that happen on the job or as a direct result of a worker’s job duties. We have handled countless work injury claims and have substantial experience navigating the workers’ compensation system. We are ready to put our dedicated legal service to use on your behalf.

In a recent workers’ compensation claim, a worker suffered an injury while working as a flight attendant when she attempted to remove a wheelchair dislodged in a compartment on a plane. The defendant insurance company denied the plaintiff’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits, and a deputy commissioner determined that the worker should be awarded partial relief. The parties appealed, and the Full Commission denied the plaintiff’s claim outright on the basis of credibility.

After reviewing the basic workers’ compensation rules, the appellate court specified that for an injury to be compensable, it must happen in the course of employment, which involves reviewing the time, place, and circumstances under which the accident took place. The worker’s first basis for appeal was that the lower court did not make proper findings regarding the testimony that her co-workers provided. The appellate court disagreed. Just because the court failed to recite the testimony or make significant mention of it in its opinion did not necessarily mean that the court failed to consider the weight of the testimony. Reviewing the opinion, the judge made numerous references to the testimony and described the co-workers’ testimony in detail.

Continue reading

A difficult aspect of some workers’ compensation claims is proving that the injury was the direct result of your job duties. Many insurers and employers will attempt to argue that your injury was the result of some other activity or factor, such as a hobby or a pre-existing condition. As dedicated North Carolina work injury lawyers, we have assisted numerous individuals with ensuring that they receive the fair treatment they deserve following a painful and debilitating accident at work.

In a recent claim, the plaintiff filed a claim alleging that he received negligent care from a medical professional when he was treated for a stroke that he suffered at work. Plaintiff also filed a workers’ compensation claim based on the same situation. The workers’ compensation claim was dismissed on the basis that the injuries that the plaintiff suffered were not caused by his job duties or occupation and that as a result he was not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The plaintiff did not appeal the denial of his claim.

The defendants in the civil case moved to dismiss the matter alleging that the plaintiff’s appropriate remedy was through the workers’ compensation system. The trial court denied the motion for summary judgment and the defendants appealed. The court concluded that it had jurisdiction over the medical negligence claims and that the facts giving rise to the plaintiff’s claim did not arise out of the course and scope of the plaintiff’s employment. It also relied on the Industrial Commission’s denial of the plaintiff’s claim for benefits in reaching this conclusion.

Continue reading

Contact Information