Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation

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

Work-related injuries are difficult, but work-related deaths are a catastrophic situation. The North Carolina workers’ compensation system provides benefits for injured workers who lose their lives as a result of a work accident. While you are busy coping with the sudden loss and overwhelming grief, we will fight on your behalf to make sure that your family receives the outcome it deserves.

In an opinion from the North Carolina Court of Appeals, an insurance company appealed a decision from the North Carolina Industrial Commission finding that an injured worker’s death was directly related to and a consequence of his employment. In 2000, the man suffered an injury to his groin and abdomen while lifting a tire. The employer’s workers’ compensation carrier initially accepted liability for the accident and the man started receiving temporary total disability benefits.

The worker then underwent a series of medical treatments including surgeries and pain management prescriptions. Despite these efforts, the man’s condition worsened and he reported experiencing severe side effects from his opiate pain relief medications. He also reported abdominal issues including chronic constipation. In 2012, a tumor was found in his bladder and he was diagnosed with cancer. In 2013, he reported to the emergency room with difficulty urinating and tenderness in his stomach. A few months later, he reported to the emergency room again with worsening symptoms and bowel obstruction. He underwent emergency surgery to remove the obstruction but never regained consciousness, eventually passing away.

Continue reading

An important step in any workers’ compensation claim is ensuring that the judge makes an appropriate calculation regarding the average weekly wages that you earned prior to the accident. This figure will be used to determine the amount of benefits that you are entitled to receive. The seasoned team of Raleigh work injury lawyers at Maurer Law have guided numerous injured employees through this process while helping them ensure that they are treated fairly.

A recent claim from the North Carolina Court of Appeal discusses average weekly wage calculations. The employer’s workers’ compensation insurer appealed from a decision awarding an injured certified nursing assistant benefits. The insurer challenged the lower court’s calculation of the nurse’s average weekly wages according to one of the many methods listed in North Carolina’s workers’ compensation statutes. According to the insurer, the lower court gave too much credence to the worker’s earnings following the injury and that the figure it chose was not a close approximation of the amount she would have earned had she not been injured.

The appellate court began by reviewing the state’s standard for calculating average weekly wages, which is covered in N.C. Gen. Stat. Section 97-2(5). It sets forth five ways that a court can make this calculation. The methods are listed in the priority that they should be used. Overall, the legislature intended for the court to make the calculation fair and just to the employer and the employee. This has been interpreted to mean that the average weekly wages should be as close as possible to the amount that the employee would have been earning had he or she not suffered an injury on the job.

Continue reading

If you think a judge made a mistake in your North Carolina workers’ compensation claim, you can file an appeal to have a higher court review the decision. There are different rules that apply on appeals, and the standard that the court must use to review the lower court’s decision can change depending on the circumstance. Ensuring that you put forth the strongest appeal possible and that the appellate court applies the right standard of review is a key aspect of securing the benefits that you deserve.

In a recent claim, the worker suffered neck and spinal injuries while employed with a trucking company as a driver. Her employer and its workers’ compensation insurer appealed a decision from a lower court denying its request to terminate her temporary total disability benefits. Specifically, the employer and insurer alleged that the lower court erred in concluding that the worker was disabled after her doctor released her in December 2015 to “return to full activities.”

The appellate court began by noting the standard of review that it must apply, which is to review findings of fact to determine whether “any competent evidence supports the Commission’s findings … and whether the findings of fact support the Commission’s conclusions of law.”

Work-related injuries are always damaging and disruptive for the employee. In the most unfortunate cases, however, they result in the loss of the worker’s life. North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act allows a surviving relative to seek death benefits to help cope with the financial stress of the sudden and unexpected loss. There are countless considerations and laws that must be taken into account when developing a strategy for recovering damages, and no two cases are alike. As seasoned North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers, we have the skills and experience it takes to ensure that your family receives the fair outcome that it deserves.

Recently, the North Carolina appellate court considered a case in which an employee lost his life in a motor vehicle accident while driving a truck for his employer. He was operating the employer’s vehicle at the time of the crash, which was insured under an auto policy. The order also required the insurer to pay the widow five hundred weekly payments of roughly $650 each and over $8,000 for funeral expenses. The total amount of benefits amounted to approximately $333,000 dollars.

The widow was then appointed as the personal representative for the decedent’s estate. She filed a wrongful death action against the driver who caused the crash and his father. The plaintiff reached a settlement of roughly $950,000 for these claims including the policy limits for the at-fault driver’s auto insurance.

One of the most important determinations in a workers’ compensation claim is whether the alleged injury can be directly related to the claimant’s job duties and functions. If the employer can point to a pre-existing injury as the primary cause of your pain and injury, then you may not be awarded workers’ compensation benefits. As dedicated North Carolina work injury lawyers, we have provided seasoned legal guidance to injured parties throughout the region and are prepared to help you ensure that you receive the full amount of compensation that you deserve.

Recently, the North Carolina Court of Appeal considered a dispute in a claim involving a pre-existing injury. The claimant worked at a hospital where she was injured on April 20. Roughly one month later on May 26, she stood up after finishing her lunch, heard a loud popping noise in her knee, and experienced immediate unbearable pain.

The plaintiff filed a claim seeking compensation for the original injury. She also had a history of conditions in both knees, starting roughly 40 years ago. The employer accepted the claim on a medical-only basis and denied further treatment on the basis that the claimant’s current condition was not causally related to the accident. It also denied the injury that occurred one month after the accident. A Deputy Commissioner denied the woman’s claim for benefits, which was later affirmed by the Full Commission.