Taylor v. Howard Shows North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claims Can Take Years

An appeals court today upheld a decision to award North Carolina workers’ compensation to a trucker who was run over while at work.

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Our Asheville workers compensation attorneys are encouraged by the ruling of Taylor v. Howard Transportation Inc., which struck down an appeal from the man’s employer, which sought to worm its way out of paying for the man’s medical care and other expenses on a jurisdiction technicality.

Here’s what we know about this case:

The trucking company has its headquarters based in Mississippi, though the employee, Bruce Taylor, lives in North Carolina. According to court records, Taylor worked for Howard for about 7 months, from 2002 to 2003. After that, he left and for a time started working for another trucking company. The following year, a recruiter for Howard called to ask Taylor if he might be interested in again working for the company. He mulled it over, and said he would, based on a number of conditions. The company agreed to those conditions, and he was formally rehired in mid-August of 2004.

The company had Taylor travel to Mississippi for required orientation, which included a driving test and a physical exam. He was on the company’s payroll during that time.

Then in early October, Taylor was on the job, making a run for the company. He stopped at a station in Maryland and was walking to the building when he was mowed over by a pick-up truck. He was injured.

From there, Taylor filed a claim for workers compensation benefits in Mississippi, where his employer was based. Then in 2008, he filed a form 18 with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. This form is basically a notification to the state when a work accident has occurred, and an expression that you intend to petition for workers compensation benefits.

Subsequently, the company filed a form 61 with the state. This is a form that states the company is denying the workers’ compensation claim. It requires the employer to explain why it is denying the claim.

It wasn’t until three years later that the industrial commission ruled that it was the agency that in fact held jurisdiction, and it determined that the company did owe the employee workers compensation benefits.

The employer, in turn, appealed that it shouldn’t have to pay the benefits because the commission in North Carolina didn’t have proper jurisdiction in the matter. The appeals court, however, ruled that the commission did have rightful jurisdiction, and the employer would have to pay.

As is apparent in this case, sometimes workers’ compensation claims can span years, even in cases like this, in which the facts seem to support a cut-and-dry award. That’s why it is so important to contact an attorney who will be in the fight for the long haul.

If you, someone you work with or someone you love has been injured in an accident on the job or needs to file a workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina, contact the Carolina injury attorneys at the Lee Law Offices today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.

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