North Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyers Blog

A workers’ compensation appeal in Washington state has affirmed that a worker was entitled to a special jury instruction at trial. He had already been granted a retrial on a separate, unrelated basis, but this was an important point to clarify in the event there were future appeals. brokensidewalk

In the case of Clark County v. McManus, the Washington Supreme Court ruled the plaintiff’s requested jury instruction – which would have indicated plaintiff’s doctor’s testimony should be afforded special consideration – should have been given.

According to court records, plaintiff worked for the county as a street sweeper from 1999 until 2011. he was reportedly forced to quit his job because he suffered a debilitating and degenerative spinal condition that affected his lower back. He attributed this condition to the bumpy ride he endured daily as a street sweeper, plus the layout of the operator’s cab, which was poorly suited for proper ergonomics.  Continue reading

Work-related back injury claims are some of the most common for workers’ compensation. gavel21

That was the underlying reason plaintiff sought benefits in Hartzell v. Palmetto Collision LLC, recently before the South Carolina Supreme Court.

Plaintiff appealed the decision by the appeals court to reverse his medical benefits claim stemming from a work-related back injury. He argued there was substantial evidence to support the original ruling of the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission to award him workers’ compensation for his back injury. He insisted the injury was reported within the required timeline and therefore the appeals court made a mistake in reversing his award of benefits.

The South Carolina Supreme Court agreed, reversed and remanded.  Continue reading

Asbestos-related diseases have wrecked havoc on so many workers and families following exposure in a host of various industries, particularly in construction and shipping.chestxray

These latent illnesses are especially challenging from a workers’ compensation perspective because they do not reveal themselves until many years after the fact. Workers who suffered exposure decades prior often don’t receive a diagnosis until years after they have left the job or even retired.

Diseases like lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma all stem from exposure to asbestos fibers. In the case of asbestosis and mesothelioma, asbestos exposure via breathing the toxic fibers in through the lungs is the only known cause.  Continue reading

Workplace stress is a serious global problem that results in anxiety, exhaustion, cardiovascular disease and (in cases stemming from co-worker conflict) workplace violence. It’s a problem that has increased in recent years with increased competition, higher expectations, longer hours and the effects of the recession, including layoffs, unemployment and fewer job opportunities. stressed

That’s why it is the focus of this year’s World Day for Safety and Health at Work, recognized on April 28th. The International Labor Organization released a report on the issue, detailing its commonality and effects.

As our Winston-Salem workers’ compensation lawyers know, employees can be compensated for work-related stress when it causes them to either suffer physical injury or when it prohibits them from being able to work or do the work they once did. A good example of this is an employee diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after a store robbery and is unable to return to his or her previous position.  Continue reading

In any work-related accident, the sole remedy a worker has against an employer is workers’ compensation. The system is supposed to provide fast, no-fault financial relief when injuries arise out of and occur in the course and scope of one’s work. constructionworkers1

However, this exclusive remedy in workers’ compensation is not applicable to certain third parties. So while you can’t sue your employer, you can take action against, say, the driver of the car that struck you or the manufacturer of the machine by which you were injured.

On a construction site, the question of who is a “third party” and who is not can become muddied. There are so many contracts, subcontracts and various entities involved, it can become tough to parse out the issue of liability. That’s why you must have an experienced construction accident lawyer to help walk you through it.  Continue reading

When you are injured in a work-related accident, you probably know you can seek benefits through workers’ compensation. What you may not realize is there are many different types of workers’ compensation, depending on the extent of your injury, when/ if you can return to work and if you do return, whether your injuries will have a lasting debilitating effect.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The recent case of Tchikobava v. Albatross Express involved several different types of workers’ compensation benefits, including temporary total disability and permanent total disability.

According to Nebraska Supreme Court records, plaintiff was employed by defendant as a truck driver when he sustained injuries in the course and scope of employment. He and his team were driving a semi-trailer from New Jersey to California. Continue reading

In personal injury claims, once a settlement is finalized, that’s pretty much it. There is no going back to ask for more or alter the terms of the agreement. However, a workers’ compensation attorney can often help employees reopen claims after settlement. constructionzone

This type of workers’ compensation assistance is imperative in cases where an employee has a disability that has recurred or increased. Whether a case can be reopened often hinges on whether it was settled by a “stipulation and award” or “compromise and release.” The latter usually resolves all worker’s claims – including into the future. Absent fraud, these settlements are usually final. However, cases that are resolved by stipulation and award can usually be reopened.

In the recent case of Poremba v. Southern Nevada Paving, the question was whether a worker was precluded from reopening his workers’ compensation claim after spending some of the settlement money on non-medical expenses. Continue reading

Workers’ compensation awards for psychological injuries in North Carolina can be tougher to prove than physical injuries. However, they are no less compensable. packagedelivery

Our dedicated Greensboro workers’ compensation attorneys understand that trauma to one’s psyche can be just as damaging and crippling as a physical injury. We will carefully analyze each case to determine whether this also should be considered in a client’s efforts to secure workers’ compensation benefits.

In the recent Connecticut Supreme Court case of Hart v. Federal Express Corp., benefits awarded to an injured worker for both physical and psychological injury were challenged by the employer. Ultimately, the benefit award was upheld. Continue reading

A significant number of employees in North Carolina work for contractors and subcontractors of larger firms. The question of workers’ compensation benefits in those cases hinges upon which agency was the actual employer. Courts consider a myriad of factors when considering this question, and in some cases will find the worker had two employers, based on the joint employee doctrine and the lent employee doctrine. cleaning

These doctrines were laid forth in the 1989 North Carolina Court of Appeals case of Anderson v. Texas Gulf, Inc. The same court cited that case in weighing the more recent Whicker v. Compass Group USA et al, which considered whether a worker for a cleaning crew was employed by both the cleaning contractor and the health center to which she reported each day.

According to court records, the cleaning company contracted with numerous health care organizations to provide standard cleaning services to various facilities. The contract between the cleaning company and this health care company provided services to 13 facilities in North Carolina, including one in Forsyth, which was the center of this complaint.  Continue reading

Last May, members of the South Carolina General Assembly introduced S. 674, which would amend the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act and allow employers to provide alternative, private injury plans to workers that are less structured than the state-mandated versions. workboots

In February, the measure was quietly ushered into the Senate Committee on Judiciary. However, the measure has remained untouched in the wake of two key decisions in Oklahoma. That state was one of the two pioneers of the workers’ compensation opt-out system (the other is Texas). Recently, the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission ruled in Vasquez v. Dillards the 2013 opt-out statute is unconstitutional.

But is that the end of the matter? Not in Oklahoma and not necessarily in South Carolina or in Tennessee, the other state weighing an opt-out option.  Continue reading

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