North Carolina Appellate Court Reverses Denial of Workers’ Compensation Claim for Failure to Consider Medical Evidence

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.

The worker sought workers’ compensation benefits. During a hearing, he testified that tire strikes happened routinely and that he suffered memory loss as a result of the aortic dissection. He was initially awarded temporary total disability benefits and medical expenses reimbursement. The insurer appealed and the full commission required medical deposition testimony. The full Commission determined that the worker’s testimony was inconsistent with the medical reports and that it was not supported by evidence in the record. It, therefore, concluded that the worker failed to show that he suffered a compensable injury that occurred during the course and scope of his employment and denied his claim for benefits.

The plaintiff appealed, alleging that the Commission failed to consider medical evidence, made findings of fact that were not supported by the evidence, made conclusions of law that were not founded on the facts, and made an inconsistent conclusion. The appellate court agreed, determining that the Commission failed to consider testimony and records of the worker’s treating physicians. In determining whether the worker suffered a compensable work injury, the Commission should have considered medical testimony regarding the aortic dissection and what caused it.

Based on this, the appellate court reversed the Commission’s denial of worker’s claim and remanded the matter.

If you were hurt at work, it is critical that you understand how the workers’ compensation system works in North Carolina. Maurer Law knows how overwhelming this can seem when you are trying to recover from your injuries while still taking care of your financial, familial, and other responsibilities. We handle a broad range of work injury accident claims and offer a free consultation so that you can learn more about our legal team and whether we can assist you. Call us at 1-844-817-8058 or contact us online to get started.