North Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyers Blog

Articles Posted in North Carolina Workers’ Compensation

One of the questions we see crop up frequently in online forums pertaining to North Carolina workers’ compensation is whether workers absolutely need to a hire an attorney or whether they are better off going it alone. gavel1

The answer is that while there is nothing legally preventing you from proceeding with a claim without a lawyer, if you have suffered serious injury, you really should seek legal counsel.

Some examples of situations in which you might not need a lawyer:

  • You missed little or no work due to the injury;
  • The injury was minor, i.e., requiring a few stitches;
  • You don’t have any pre-existing condition;
  • Your employer concedes the injury occurred at work.

But if your workers’ compensation claim is any more complicated than that, discussing it with a lawyer at an initial consultation can give you a sense of the sorts of legal challenges you may encounter and how an attorney can help with your case.  Continue reading

Much has been written about the awful conditions at poultry plants throughout the U.S. (and particularly in the South). But a new report by Oxfam America reveals a whole new level of ugly. restroomsymbol

According to the 15-page report, entitled “No Relief: Denial of Bathroom Breaks in the Poultry Industry,” workers at these facilities are so routinely denied the right to use the bathroom at work, many have taken to wearing diapers during their shift. Some lower their food and drink intake to dangerous levels to avoid the urgent need to use the restroom. Women who are menstruating and pregnant often suffer the most. In general, women are biologically more susceptible to bladder-related infections. In many cases, workers are suffering infections, such as urinary tract infections, and bowel and bladder damage as a result of being forced to remain on the line when they desperately need to use the restroom.

Not only does this kind of practice offend workers’ dignity, it is a serious threat to their health. They endure not just the pain and discomfort of being unable to use the restroom, they suffer the emotional scars of humiliation and the severe stress of concern for their job security.  Continue reading

The attorneys at Lee Law Offices, P.A. regularly work with clients in North Carolina and South Carolina who need to re-open their workers’ compensation claim. manstandingonwall

Typically, these are individuals who are already receiving workers’ compensation benefits as a result of occupational injury, and then those injuries get worse. In some cases, the condition evolves into a permanent injury.

In North Carolina, injured workers have two years from the date their settlement is accepted in which they can re-open their workers’ compensation claim, assuming the settlement was based on their rating of disability. There are certain cases that may not be ripe for re-opening (i.e., those involving clincher agreements). But these are details injured workers will need to discuss with an attorney.  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 month, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) released a report to detail the progress of the severe work-related injury reporting program, implemented one year ago. That report indicates there were nearly 10,400 severe work-related injuries in the U.S. in 2015 – the first full year of the new federal requirement. workers

Included in this number: Eye loss, amputation, hospitalization. All of this has to be reported in the first 24 hours. Within that 10,400 were 2,644 amputations and 7,636 hospitalizations. Fatalities have to be reported within eight hours.

But until this requirements, OSHA officials were often grasping at straws when it came to identifying an actual number of serious workplace injuries. As one official described it, each of those instances was “a wake-up call for safety that went unheeded.”  Continue reading

The latest annual report from UL’s Integrated Health & Safety Institute (IHSI) has issued a report that ranks the prevalence of health conditions of work safety in each state as compared to the national average.worker5

The results for North Carolina and South Carolina reveal something of a mixed bag.

For example, the North Carolina workplace fatality rate is in the 10- to 20-percent better range. However, the risk of certain health determinants, such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke were in the 10- to 20-percent worse category. Continue reading

Our police officers in North Carolina take an enormous risk every day they show up to work.prison

Every time they don that uniform, their lives are on the line. In fact, the FBI reports that in 2013, there were 76 officers killed in the line-of-duty in the U.S. that year, plus nearly 50,000 who suffered line-of-duty assaults, with 30 percent of those suffering serious injury as a result.

Because state legislators recognize this possible danger, laws have been enacted that bolster protections and benefits for state-employed officers who are hurt on-the-job. Part of that involves full salary for officers injured in the line-of-duty – even when he or she can no longer perform his or her regular duties – per N.C. Gen. Stat. 143-166.19. That’s a benefit most other workers do not get. Those who are unable to work are usually paid 66 2/3 of their regular weekly wage.  Continue reading

Permanent total disability involves a Carolina work injury so severe, the plaintiff is unable to continue with his or her current job – or any type of work, for that matter. snowyroads

N.C. Gen. Stat. 97-29 spells out the definition and rate of permanent total disability. There is a lot to the statute, but essentially, if you have lost the use of both hands, arms, legs, feet or eyes or if you have suffered a severe spinal or brain injury or burns, you would qualify for permanent total disability.

But even when a worker’s injuries are profound, you can expect the employer and/or insurer to fight vigorously to avoid a finding of permanent total disability benefits. Take for example the recent Ohio Supreme Court case of State ex re. Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. v. Indus. Comm’n. Continue reading

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