Articles Posted in Carolina Work Accident

Drug and alcohol impairment on-the-job can pose serious hazards for workers. However, it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker in terms of workers’ compensation. It really depends on the underlying circumstances and whether the worker was appreciably impaired and the impairment caused the injury. bud

This issue is going to be coming up with greater frequency as pro-marijuana legislation sweeps this country. Although the drug is still illegal in both North Carolina and South Carolina, bills have been floated in both states that would change that. As it now stands, more than half the states in the U.S. plus D.C. allow the drug for medicinal purpose and a handful allow it for recreation. The question of what constitutes as marijuana “impairment” is a tough one because unlike alcohol, THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) remains in one’s system for much longer than 24 hours. That means evidence of the drug in one’s blood stream – even at higher levels – does not necessarily prove intoxication.

Recently in Colorado, it was revealed that a worker who died after being crushed in a Denver factory had THC in his system. However, the investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is more heavily focused on the purported flaws in the equipment.  Continue reading

In North Carolina workers’ compensation cases, employers have the ability to assert that liability should be apportioned between or among multiple employers or carriers when more than one is believed to have contributed to a workers’ condition. This is an assertion that would apply to cases where a worker has some prior or pre-existing injury or condition, though the applicability of apportionment is a determination that is made by the state workers’ compensation board (which here is the North Carolina Industrial Commission). workerexcavator

Generally, where a prior condition wasn’t the result of some compensable injury and/or the worker had been able to perform his or her job just fine despite the pre-existing condition, apportionment typically can’t be asserted.

In the recent North Carolina Court of Appeals case of  employer appealed the workers’ compensation benefits awarded to plaintiff on the grounds that it should not be solely responsible for plaintiff’s condition, and that previous employers should share some portion of the liability. The appellate court rejected this assertion, siding with the earlier decision by the NC Industrial Commission that this employer was solely liable for worker’s injuries.  Continue reading

A construction worker was rushed to a hospital in Charlotte after an excavator accident in Fort Mill left him with serious work-related injuries. excavator

According to the Herald Online, the accident occurred sometime around 4 p.m. at the Doby Bridge Road construction site. He reportedly became trapped under the truck of the excavator. Police investigators are still piecing together what happened, but initial reports are that one worker had been operating the excavator while another worker was nearby, explaining a maintenance issue the machine had been having.

The operator then moved the vehicle and as he was moving it, the second worker was struck, knocked down and then became trapped underneath the track of the vehicle.  Continue reading

Workers’ compensation benefits in South Carolina are available to almost all employees whose injuries occur on the job. Wage loss benefits are based on an individual’s average weekly wage at the date of injury. Workers are to receive 66 and 2/3 percent of their average weekly wage in the six months prior to the injury, not to exceed $784.03 per week as of 2016 according to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.businessman

For self-employed workers who suffer injury, the issue of compensation can get a bit sticky.

The commission reports that sole proprietors and partners are considered owners and thus not automatically included under workers’ compensation, but they can elect to be covered if they are active in the business and have given appropriate notice to the insurance company. The only way owners would be automatically covered is if they were also employees. Continue reading

The issue of workers’ compensation death benefits is one that is important to review with an attorney because spouses and other dependents may be entitled to collect payments for certain expenses and for years after. sadness2

N.C.G.L. 97-38 allows for death benefits where a fatality results from a work injury or occupational disease. If death proximately results form a compensable injury or occupational disease within six years thereafter or within two years of a final determination of disability (whichever comes later), the employer has to pay death benefits equal to 66 2/3 percent of the average weekly wage of the decedent worker at the time of the accident, plus burial expenses.

But when there is any question about whether a firm should have to pay workers’ compensation death benefits, they will fight it because it’s usually costly. Families must fight back because often, the financial stability of the family is at stake.  Continue reading

New figures from the National Safety Council (NSC) indicate 1 worker is injured every 7 seconds in the U.S. Each day, that adds up to 12,900 injured workers and 4.7 million every year. worker0

The report shows that younger workers and those who are new to the job are at the greatest risk of injury.

Another recent study, Travelers’ Insurance “Injury Impact Report” revealed more than 25 percent of all workplace injuries happen in the very first year of employment. The Travelers’ report analyzes five years worth of workers’ compensation claims – 1.5 million in all – in hopes of determining how and why workplace injuries in the U.S. occur. The study also wanted to look at how much they cost.  Continue reading

In almost all states, workers’ compensation provides an exclusive remedy for employees injured on-the-job. What that means is workers cannot sue their employers for job-related injuries or illness; the only relief to which they are entitled from the employer is via workers’ compensation benefits. The trade-off is workers don’t have to prove the company was at-fault, and benefits are supposed to be provided faster. prison1

But what if the worker injured was an incarcerated federal inmate?

These individuals do still have rights (although they are limited) and their work-related injuries are covered under the Inmate Accident Compensation Act, which sets forth procedures for payment of accident compensation resulting from work-related injuries to federal prison inmates or their dependents.    Continue reading

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

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

Employees injured in a job-related accident covered by workers’ compensation may also be entitled to personal injury lawsuit proceeds if third-party negligence was also at play.electricwires

That worker has a right to proceed with both a workers’ compensation claim as well as a third-party lawsuit. However, the workers’ compensation insurer will have a lien on that third party recovery. The idea is workers shouldn’t be able to collect twice for the same injury. But to how much are employer insurers entitled?

The highest court in Massachusetts recently took on this question in a pair of two cases wherein lower courts had issued conflicting rulings. The cases were DiCarlo v. Suffolk Construction Co. and Martin v. Angelini Plastering Inc. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was asked to decide whether employer insurers are entitled to collect a lien on damages awarded for pain and suffering. Continue reading

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