North Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyers Blog

Articles Posted in Carolina Work Accident

Per the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, Article 1, Section 97-31, there are is a schedule of injuries. This provision serves as a guideline for how much an injured worker should be awarded for certain losses. gavel2

For example:

  • Loss of a thumb – 66 and two-thirds percentage of the average weekly wages for 75 weeks
  • Loss of a great tow – 66 and two-thirds percentage of the average weekly wage for 35 weeks
  • Loss of a hand – 66 and two-thirds percent of the average weekly wage for 200 weeks
  • Loss of a foot – 66 and two-thirds percent of average weekly wage for 144 weeks
  • Serious facial or head disfigurement – a proper award not to exceed $20,000

The list goes on like this. Many other states have similar guidelines, and they are fairly straightforward. However, as the recent case of Goff v. W. Va. Office of Ins. Comm’r shows, sometimes there are complicating factors. Continue reading

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration reports two workers are killed monthly in the U.S. due to trench collapses. Employers owe their workers a duty to create a hazard-free work environment that doesn’t imperil employees and put them at risk for serious injury or death. constructionsite1.jpg

Cave-ins in particular pose a grave risk, and are more likely to be fatal than other types of excavation-related accidents.

The recent case of Fernandes v. DAR Development Corp. involved a worker who was injured as a result of a trench collapse. The case, a third-party work injury lawsuit, was recently before the New Jersey Supreme Court.
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A construction company has been ordered by federal regulators to pay nearly $425,000 in penalties for six egregious violations of workplace safety leading to the near-death of a worker who was buried in an eight-foot trench. pipework.jpg

The collapse happened fast, within a matter of seconds. His co-workers rushed to his side and helped to dig him out with their bare hands. Then, just moments after they pulled him to safety, the trench, which was unprotected, collapsed again.

The worker was severely injured and had to be hospitalized.

Now, following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the company was found to violate 16 total safety violations, with of those being the more serious, “willful violations” for failing to protect its workers. OSHA investigators say the construction company was aware the site was dangerous, and yet did not take the necessary, adequate measures to protect workers.
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About one year ago, investigative reporters at NPR and ProPublica teamed up to examine in-depth the impact of recent legislative changes to the workers’ compensation system nationwide. Numerous state-level reforms in more than 30 states appeared to be targeting protections that once provided the critical foundation of the programs.
What those investigators did not know was at the same time, federal investigators launched their own inquiry – and released their almost identical findings on the very same day.

Both reports – one from NPR/ProPublica and the other from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – detail changes that have had devastating consequences for hundreds of thousands of people who suffer serious on-the-job injuries each year. These changes have been almost exclusively driven by large corporations and insurance companies, which have pushed the narrative that costs for these programs are out-of-control – despite direct evidence that workers’ comp payouts have never been lower.
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Construction workers face some of the most dangerous working conditions when on the job. In a recent tragedy, one man was killed and four workers were injured when a pedestrian bridge collapsed at the Wake Technical Community college campus in Raleigh. According to reports, the injured workers were rushed to the hospital after the collapse. On man suffered severe back and neck injuries, another broke his leg and a third was being treated for pain. Three of the four injured workers were forced to undergo surgery after the accident.


Construction sites are dangerous because of faulty support, heights, potential problems with electricity and a host of other conditions that can pose a risk to workers. In the event of an accident, victims and their loved ones have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim and to collect financial benefits to cover lost wages and medical expenses. Though workers cannot traditionally bring claims against their employers, they can bring personal injury claims against third-parties, including property owners, manufacturers, and other subcontractors.
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Law enforcement officers face dangerous working conditions when on the job. In addition to the potential for assault or violence, officers could be at risk of a car collision or other accident. In a recent case, a South Carolina sheriff’s deputy was injured in an automobile accident that also resulted in the death of a woman.


According to reports, the sheriff’s deputy was riding with his partner when he lost control of the patrol car. Police reports indicated that after losing control, he struck another vehicle resulting in the death of a 45-year-old woman and four other passengers. The sheriff is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits and is filing additional lawsuits against Anderson County and the South Carolina Department of Transportation.
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The subject of illegal immigration and undocumented workers tends to be a particularly heated political issue, especially when the issue comes to federal and state benefits secured by these individuals.
Many states, including North Carolina, still recognize the rights of workers injured on the job to be at least minimally reimbursed for medical expenses by the employer’s insurer – regardless of the worker’s immigration status. This almost changed earlier this year with H.B. 369, which would have stripped these benefits from undocumented workers. The law would have exempted companies from paying workers’ compensation to workers who were undocumented where it could be shown employer didn’t know worker was here illegally at the time of hiring due to false representations by worker.

The measure was tucked into a bigger bill of criminal reforms, but was later removed amid stark opposition from health care lobbyists worried injured workers would show up en mass without coverage, resulting in more than $1 billion in additional charity care provided by state hospitals. Those costs are also absorbed by taxpayers. Others worried this would encourage companies to hire illegal workers and then turned a blind eye to misrepresented immigration status until it became beneficial to know otherwise.
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Workers who suffer on-the-job injury may have more to worry about than just physical recovery or medical bills. According to recent reports published by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), employees who have filed workers’ compensation claims are often concerned about retaliation or job loss following the injury. Furthermore, individuals who have some security in their employment may fare better in their recovery. Research indicates that those who feel that they have job security after an injury have shorter periods of disability than those who fear they may be fired.


These studies show both the emotional and psychological damage of a work-related injury and also the reality that some employees may hesitate to file a claim because of job security issues. Our Asheville workers’ compensation attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals who have been injured on the job. In addition to raising awareness to secure workers’ rights, we are also staunch advocates for clients seeking to recover workers’ compensation benefits or third-party damages.
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An out-of-state trucker may now pursue workers’ compensation benefits in North Carolina for a back injury he sustained out-of-state, based on the fact that the division headquarters was local. This was despite the state’s Industrial Commission’s initial refusal to accept jurisdiction over the matter.
The North Carolina Court of Appeals later accepted review of Burley v. U.S. Foods, et al. at the plaintiff’s request, and ultimately reversed the commission’s finding in favor of the plaintiff.

Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyers know this case reveals that workers should not necessarily be discouraged by the outcome of the initial hearing. This is not the first time the commission’s decision has been successfully challenged, and it certainly won’t be the last.
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Rampant health and safety violations at four plants owned by Republic Steel have resulted in a fine of more than $2.4 million against the company. Officials with the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration reported the hefty fine is the result of more than 100 violations at the firm’s various plants, including a fall through a roof, an arc flash incident and a plethora of serious fall hazards.
Charlotte work injury lawyers understand the company has agreed to immediate abatement of all existing hazards, and the implementation of several policies and procedures to ensure those risks don’t arise again. In the event of substantial non-compliance with any part of the agreement, the company agreed to pay even larger fines.

OSHA began intense inspections of the Ohio-based firm after a worker fell through the roof at one factory location. At that same location, a worker was injured in an arc flash incident. At another site, the number of fall hazards were high, according to safety inspectors.
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