February 26, 2014

Court Rejects Contractor Liability for Subcontractors on Multi-Employer Work Sites


The Utah Supreme Court has issued a ruling stating that a federal law making general contractors at multi-employer work sites responsible to correct unsafe work conditions that could cause injury to subcontractor employees runs contrary to state law.
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The immediate impact on those seeking to file a Greensboro workers' compensation claim is probably minimal, as it is an out-of-state ruling and doesn't directly pertain to benefits. However, decisions by state supreme courts tend to be given a lot of weight when courts in other jurisdictions face similar issues. Plus, any action that erodes worker safety is likely to result in more workers' compensation claims overall.

By holding both subcontractors and general contractors on job sites responsible to ensure employee protection, the multi-employer work site doctrine, per Occupational Safety & Health Administration policy CPL 02-00-124, seeks to bolster protection for all workers. A ruling like this serves to undercut that purpose.

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February 24, 2014

Workers' Compensation Benefits for "Unexplained" Work Injuries


In order to prove that an injury is compensable under workers' compensation law, courts have typically held that you must prove that the condition occurred by accident "arising out of and in the course of the employment."
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In many cases, this means that you have to show that but-for the conditions and obligations of employment, the worker would not have been in a position to sustain the injury.

In North Carolina, the section of the law addressing the "arising out of and in the course of" is found in G.S.97.2-6 of the state's Workers' Compensation Act. Winston-Salem workers' compensation attorneys recognize that in cases where the injury may have happened at work but is unexplained, benefits may be tougher to secure - though certainly not impossible.

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February 23, 2014

Workers' Compensation and Asbestos-Related Illness


There is no question that asbestos-related disease is one of the biggest job-related cancer concerns in the U.S. today, comprising one of the largest percentages of occupational deaths and related costs.
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That said, the question of whether asbestos disease sufferers should file a Charlotte workers' compensation claim is one that should be approached carefully. One of the general principles of workers' compensation law is that by filing for these benefits, workers give up the right to sue their employer for their occupational injuries.

In general for a lot of people, the trade-off is worth it because they don't necessarily have to prove that the employer was negligent or at-fault for the injury, only that the injury occurred at work or arose out of the conditions of employment. Workers' compensation claims also tend to be less costly than civil litigation and are generally not as drawn-out of a process. Legislators have designed it to be this way for workers to quickly receive benefits, recover, and hopefully return to the workforce as soon as possible.

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February 22, 2014

Report: North Carolina Hospital Staffers Risk Work Injury


For most people, hospitals are supposed to be a place of healing.
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However, for those who work there, it can be an extremely dangerous place. In fact, the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration recently released a report indicating that hospitals are one of the riskiest places to work, with some 255,000 work-related injuries and illnesses reported in 2011.

Bear in mind, those were only the reported instances of illness and injury, and that broke down to about 7 work-related illnesses and injuries for every 100 full-time workers. Our Winston-Salem workers' compensation lawyers recognize that this is about double the rate for the private industry as a whole.

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February 18, 2014

North Carolina Workers' Compensation Claims Must be Timely Filed


With very few exceptions, workers' compensation claims in Greensboro must be filed within two years. workers.jpg

Failure to do this will usually result in a worker forever forfeiting the right to pursue benefits. Per North Carolina G.S. 97-58, which covers the time limit for filing workers' compensation claims, workers have either two years from the date of injury or illness (or the date they learned of the injury or illness) to initiate the process.

The only exceptions are for occupational disease like asbestosis or mesothelioma or silicosis or lead poisoning, where the worker might not know he or she has been sickened until years or even decades later.

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February 15, 2014

Workers' Compensation Benefits After Maximum Medical Improvement Finding


In South Carolina workers' compensation claims, temporary total disability benefits are generally payable until such time that a physician deems the injured employee to have reached a point called "maximum medical improvement."
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The phrase maximum medical improvement has both medical and legal significance. Medically, it means that curative medical treatment has ceased, and the injured party is essentially as good as he or she is going to get.

A determination from one physician could be disputed by another, though. For example, an orthopedic doctor could release a patient from care, but the neurologist may still be continuing treatment. There could also be disputes between an authorized treating physician (chosen by the patient) and an independent medical evaluation.

From a legal standpoint, Rock Hill workers' compensation claims will be heavily determinant on the date of maximum medical improvement, but there are also be considerations regarding the person's work history, skill sets and the employment market. There may also be consideration for whether there is permanent partial disability. In other words, the state will consider whether there are lifelong effects from the injury.

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February 12, 2014

Insurance Bad Faith Claims & Rights of the Injured


A recent court case addressed the issue of whether a worker could recover additional tort damages after his employer's insurer wrongfully, and in bad-faith, refused to pay worker's compensation due to him.

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Insurance companies and employers may pull out all the stops to avoid paying an employee in the wake of an injury claim. OurSpartanburg worker's compensation lawyers can help review your situation and determine the proper course of action.

The district court which reviewed this case initially erroneously determined that the insurer had only committed a breach of contract when it refused to pay the plaintiff's worker compensation claim.

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February 10, 2014

Carolina Construction Worker Killed at Manufacturing Plant


Construction work continues to be a dangerous way to make a living. According to a recent article on foxcarolina.com a construction worker was killed while working at a manufacturing plant construction site.

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Our workers' compensation lawyers in Charlotte know construction work is consistently ranked among the most dangerous occupations.

The worker was killed when a 10-inch pipe fell and hit him in the head, the report stated.

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February 8, 2014

Third Party Liability Cases in Aftermath of Employee Injuries


A recent court decision reveals some ofthe challenges involved bringing a third-party liability case.

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Our Asheville worker's compensation lawyers know employers are often immune to such lawsuits via the state's workers' compensation laws.

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February 5, 2014

NC Work Injuries Decline, Still Too Many Employees Hurt on the Job


Last year, there were 23 people who were killed on the job in North Carolina, according to the News Observer. While that's down from the 38 fatalities experienced by North Carolina workers in 2011, it's still far too many. The N.C. Department of Labor points out that all of the workers who were killed on the job last year were men and they were classified as "laborers". The average age was 44.
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"I believe North Carolina is benefiting from increased awareness of safety and health in both private industry and the government, but we must do better," said Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry.

Our Charlotte workers' compensation lawyers understand that these numbers only include workplace fatalities that fall under the Department's jurisdiction. The fatalities that occur to those who are self-employed and the fatalities that occur on the job in motor-vehicle accidents do not fall under this jurisdiction. Last year, there were more than 10 workers who were killed when they were hit by a vehicle or by a falling object. There were six who were killed in falls. Three of them were killed after being caught in machinery, one was electrocuted and two inhaled toxic fumes.

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February 2, 2014

Injury to Healthcare Workers OSHA Focus in 2014


Officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have debuted a new online resource for medical workers to help to prevent on-the-job injuries, enhance patient handling safety, implement health and safety management systems and to better assess workplace safety needs. The online resource, Worker Safety in Hospitals, includes safe practice guides, self-assessments and a series of fact books.
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"These new materials can help prevent hospital worker injuries and improve patient safety, while reducing costs," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

Our workers' compensation lawyers in Asheville understand that hospitals are some of the most dangerous places in the nation to work. Hospitals and personal care facilities employ approximately 1.6 million workers at 21,000 work sites. In just 2011, there were more than 253,000 work-related illnesses and work-related injuries recorded. Nearly 60,000 of those caused employees to miss work. Workers' compensation losses totaled $2 billion. That a rate of nearly 7 work-related incidents for every 100 full-time workers. That's close to twice the rate for private industry.

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January 31, 2014

Total Incapacity Status After a North Carolina Work Injury


Workers who have suffered profound and permanent work injuries in Statesville should explore the pursuit of a claim for total incapacity Article I, Section 97-29 of the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act. lonely.jpg

While there are some limitations, a worker who qualifies for temporary total disability can receive up to 500 weeks of compensation (up to two-thirds of his average weekly wages). That 500-week limitation (which works out to a little less than 10 years) can be extended even further if the employee can prove after the eight-year mark that he or she has had a total loss of wage-earning capacity.

This compensation can bridge the gap until a person is old enough to qualify for Social Security benefits.

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January 26, 2014

Employer Pressure May Unduly Impact Rights After Injury


When it comes to on-the-job injuries, never assume an employer has a worker's best interests at heart. railroad.jpg

The reality is, companies want to limit their liability in any way possible, and our Rock Hill workers' compensation lawyers know that this sometimes can mean pressuring employees to avoid filing a claim for benefits - even when those benefits are legitimately owed.

This appears to have been what happened in the recent case of Reed v. Norfolk S. Ry. Co., reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. This was a case that carried special complications because the plaintiff worked for a railway company and was a union member.

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January 23, 2014

Wait Staff Face High Rate of Injury on the Job


Working in the food service industry requires a great deal of physical stamina, and our Greensboro workers' compensation lawyers know there is ample opportunity for injury.
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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are approximately 9.5 million workers in America employed in food service. For these individuals, the most common types of injuries include:


  • Sprains, strains, contusions and bruises from slips, falls and trips.

  • Lacerations and cuts from knives and other tools.

  • Heat burns from steam, hot water, hot surfaces and hot oil.

  • Ergonomic hazards resulting from repetitive motion, lifting, bending and pushing.

  • Injuries from workplace violence.

  • Occupational stress due to heavy work loads, prolonged standing and limited breaks for rest.


There is also the potential for injury due to exposure to smoke and chemicals.

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January 22, 2014

South Carolina Workers' Compensation Claim Successful for "Independent Contractor"


The recent case of Shatto v. McLeod Regional Medical Center, reviewed by the South Carolina Supreme Court, is a testament to the fact that independent contractors can successfully file a Spartanburg workers' compensation claim.
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What is required is to prove the worker was not an independent contractor after all, but rather an employee - no matter what the actual job title stated or suggested.

Under South Carolina law, workers' compensation benefits can't be collected by someone working as an independent contractor (McLeod v. Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co.). The problem, as outlined in a recent compliance report by the state's Workers' Compensation Advisory Committee, is that far too many companies try to cheat the system by improperly classifying workers.

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