North Carolina Appellate Court Reverses Ruling Finding South Carolina Insurer Responsible for Injured Worker’s Expenses in Lent Employee Doctrine Case

It is common practice for employers to loan out employees to assist with other projects or jobs. This can create wonderful opportunities for employees, but it also creates issues when it comes to determining which employer is liable for any injuries that the employee suffers on the job. At Maurer Law, our team of dedicated North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers has handled complex claims involving many different types of injuries and we are ready to assist you.

In a recent appellate opinion, the court considered a claim involving an employee who had been loaned out to another company. The owner of a South Carolina-based company needed help with a construction project in Florida and contacted his friend who owned a North Carolina-based company to request additional workers. The plaintiff worked for the North Carolina company and volunteered to work at the Florida job site. According to the arrangement, the South Carolina-based company agreed to pay the North Carolina employees at the completion of the job. On the job site, the worker fell while lifting furniture to the second floor of a building, sustaining multiple injuries.

The plaintiff filed a Notice of Accident requesting compensation for his injuries from his North Carolina employer’s insurance carrier. The South Carolina company’s insurance carrier had refused to pay compensation to the plaintiff for his medical bills, which totaled over $350,000, and disability benefits exceeding $44,000. The North Carolina insurer filed a request to add the South Carolina insurer and to have it be held liable for the employee’s expenses and benefits.

The presiding Commissioner concluded that the South Carolina insurer should be dismissed from the matter and that the North Carolina employer, insurance carrier, and the South Carolina construction company were jointly liable for the costs. The North Carolina company and insurer appealed and the reviewing court concluded that the South Carolina insurance company should be required to pay for the employee’s expenses and injuries.

The South Carolina insurance company promptly appealed this decision and the reviewing court concluded that it should not be required to pay for any of the employee’s injury-related expenses. Reviewing the record, the appellate court relied on facts showing that the employee only had two instances of direct contact with the owner of the South Carolina company and that the employee never reported for duty at the South Carolina company’s base of operation. Ultimately, the court concluded that the employee was a lent employee who was unlikely to work on any future projects for the South Carolina company.

If you are dealing with work-related injuries, it is critical that you speak with a seasoned workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible so that you preserve your right to medical expenses reimbursement and weekly wage benefits. Although some clams are straightforward, others involve complex issues and dealing with multiple insurance companies can be incredibly daunting. We offer a free consultation to discuss your situation and how we can assist you with securing the fair treatment that you deserve. Call us now at 1-888-258-1087 or contact us online to get started.

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