North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission Orders Credit in Favor of Insurer in Scaffolding Accident

If you were injured on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. There are many rules and procedures that apply to the claims process, and it is essential that you have an experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer standing by your side to help you assert your right to the maximum amount of benefits for which you qualify.

In a recent opinion from the North Carolina Industrial Commission, an injured worker appealed from an order that denied his claim for additional benefits and granted to the employer a credit for overpayment of the benefits that the employee had received to date. The worker alleged that the Commission made a reversible error when it determined that the employee failed to prove that he was suffering from an ongoing disability.

The plaintiff was 55 years old and worked as a drywall finisher when his injury occurred. According to evidence in the record, his job duties involved lifting heavy objects that weighed roughly 65 pounds. The plaintiff worked on and off for many years, and there were pay disputes regarding some of his jobs. In May 2012, the worker injured his left wrist and elbow in a scaffolding accident that resulted in a 20-foot fall. The worker required several surgeries and recovered at a hospital before he returned home.

The worker sought treatment from a physician for his pain management and follow-up care. The physician eventually released the plaintiff as having reached a maximum medical improvement, with a 30 percent permanent partial impairment rating for his left elbow and a 25 percent permanent partial impairment to his wrist. He was assigned work restrictions according to these limitations. The plaintiff could not return to his same occupation, and he did not seek work or obtain additional medical treatment.

The employer’s insurer paid medical benefits and indemnity for the injury. A dispute arose regarding the extent to which the plaintiff was debilitated by his injuries, and evidence in the record indicated that he had pre-existing health conditions. Ultimately, the Commission concluded that the plaintiff did not successfully establish an ongoing injury that would entitle him to indemnity compensation after he was released from the physician’s care. It denied his claim for additional benefits for that period, and the worker appealed. The reviewing panel agreed with the original finding, noting that the doctor did not completely preclude the employee from working but only put a restriction on his injured arm. The reviewing panel also found that the man’s pre-existing conditions were not related to the injury.

If you were hurt at work and are considering filing a workers’ compensation benefits claim, the seasoned work injury lawyers at Maurer Law are standing by to help you explore your rights. We know how daunting this process can be, and it is even more difficult when you are recovering from your injuries or facing a permanent disability. We provide free consultations so that you can learn about our team and how we can assist you. Call us now at 1-888-258-1087 or contact us online.

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