Under North Carolina law, a jury can take into consideration whether a plaintiff’s own negligence was a contributing factor in causing his or her injuries. This is often one of the defenses that a defendant will assert in a personal injury case in an attempt to avoid paying damages. If the defendant is successful in establishing that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent, the defendant will not be required to pay damages. At Maurer Law, we can assist you in protecting your right to recovery and securing the outcome that you deserve.

A recent appellate opinion discussed the doctrine of contributory negligence. The plaintiff went with his fraternity to a state park that included a picnic area with a pier that extended several hundred feet into the middle of the lake. The plaintiff decided to take a swim one morning and went to the pier. The water was dark and he could not ascertain the depth. There were no signs regarding the depth of the lake, but he recalled seeing boats on the lake and various indications that swimming from the pier was acceptable. He also saw the metal ladders leading from the pier into the water. The plaintiff and his friends also threw rocks into the water in an attempt to determine its depth.

The plaintiff ultimately dove off the pier and struck the bottom of the lake with his head resulting in sharp pain in his right arm and torso stiffness. He ultimately required spinal surgery and spent six weeks in a cranial halo, although he lacked sensation in his right side and lower right extremity.

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Work-related injuries are difficult, but work-related deaths are a catastrophic situation. The North Carolina workers’ compensation system provides benefits for injured workers who lose their lives as a result of a work accident. While you are busy coping with the sudden loss and overwhelming grief, we will fight on your behalf to make sure that your family receives the outcome it deserves.

In an opinion from the North Carolina Court of Appeals, an insurance company appealed a decision from the North Carolina Industrial Commission finding that an injured worker’s death was directly related to and a consequence of his employment. In 2000, the man suffered an injury to his groin and abdomen while lifting a tire. The employer’s workers’ compensation carrier initially accepted liability for the accident and the man started receiving temporary total disability benefits.

The worker then underwent a series of medical treatments including surgeries and pain management prescriptions. Despite these efforts, the man’s condition worsened and he reported experiencing severe side effects from his opiate pain relief medications. He also reported abdominal issues including chronic constipation. In 2012, a tumor was found in his bladder and he was diagnosed with cancer. In 2013, he reported to the emergency room with difficulty urinating and tenderness in his stomach. A few months later, he reported to the emergency room again with worsening symptoms and bowel obstruction. He underwent emergency surgery to remove the obstruction but never regained consciousness, eventually passing away.

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An important step in any workers’ compensation claim is ensuring that the judge makes an appropriate calculation regarding the average weekly wages that you earned prior to the accident. This figure will be used to determine the amount of benefits that you are entitled to receive. The seasoned team of Raleigh work injury lawyers at Maurer Law have guided numerous injured employees through this process while helping them ensure that they are treated fairly.

A recent claim from the North Carolina Court of Appeal discusses average weekly wage calculations. The employer’s workers’ compensation insurer appealed from a decision awarding an injured certified nursing assistant benefits. The insurer challenged the lower court’s calculation of the nurse’s average weekly wages according to one of the many methods listed in North Carolina’s workers’ compensation statutes. According to the insurer, the lower court gave too much credence to the worker’s earnings following the injury and that the figure it chose was not a close approximation of the amount she would have earned had she not been injured.

The appellate court began by reviewing the state’s standard for calculating average weekly wages, which is covered in N.C. Gen. Stat. Section 97-2(5). It sets forth five ways that a court can make this calculation. The methods are listed in the priority that they should be used. Overall, the legislature intended for the court to make the calculation fair and just to the employer and the employee. This has been interpreted to mean that the average weekly wages should be as close as possible to the amount that the employee would have been earning had he or she not suffered an injury on the job.

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Car accidents can happen at any place and time, even if you are operating your vehicle as safely as possible. Although you may not be able to avoid being involved in a collision with a careless driver, you can retain a seasoned and diligent North Carolina personal injury lawyer to help you seek the compensation that you deserve for your injuries and damages. A seasoned attorney understands the substantive law that applies to your claim, as well as key procedural rules that can help ensure that you receive a fair and efficient resolution of your claim.

A recent claim underscores the importance of retaining an attorney who has experience in the courtroom. The plaintiff, a motorcyclist, alleged that she was involved in a collision with a vehicle that was parked along the side of the road and that pulled out in front of him without using a turn signal. The plaintiff testified that as he approached the vehicle and realized it was too late to avoid a collision, he “laid down” the bike and collided with the driver’s side of the defendant’s vehicle. At trial, the defendant testified that she was driving slowly and preparing to turn left into the parking lot of a restaurant when the plaintiff attempted to pass her on the left side of her vehicle. According to the plaintiff, she had engaged her turn signal prior to preparing to turn into the parking lot.

The plaintiff moved for a directed verdict, which asks the court to enter judgment in the moving party’s favor based on the evidence presented at trial. The court denied the motion and the jury concluded that the plaintiff did not suffer any damages as the direct and foreseeable cause of the defendant’s conduct. The plaintiff next filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, which asks the judge to set aside the jury’s conclusion as being against the manifest weight of the evidence. The plaintiff also filed a motion for a new trial. The plaintiff based both motions on the assertion that the jury disregarded the trial court’s instructions and that the verdict was clearly inappropriate. Both motions were denied and the plaintiff appealed.

Nursing home abuse victims face some of the most painful physical and emotional injuries. Although the criminal authorities can choose to investigate an incident of nursing home abuse, the victim can also bring a civil claim against his or her abuser to recover compensation for his or her injuries. As seasoned North Carolina nursing home abuse attorneys, we have the knowledge and experience necessary to ensure that you are treated fairly and respectfully during this painful and stressful situation.

In a recent case, the North Carolina Court of Appeals considered a claim in which the plaintiff appealed from a dismissal of her complaint alleging that a nursing home facility was responsible for injuries that her mother received while her mother was in the facility’s care. The lower court dismissed her action on the basis that she did not name the right defendant in the lawsuit.

According to the complaint, the facility where the mother was admitted for respite care attempted to move her using a lift. The plaintiff alleged that the facility was negligent in operating the lift, causing her mother to suffer injuries. In her complaint, however, the plaintiff named another company as the defendant. Instead of answering the complaint, the named defendant filed a motion to dismiss and provided information seeking judicial notice of public records showing that it did not own or operate the facility. The documents were the business organization papers for the company that did own the facility.

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If you think a judge made a mistake in your North Carolina workers’ compensation claim, you can file an appeal to have a higher court review the decision. There are different rules that apply on appeals, and the standard that the court must use to review the lower court’s decision can change depending on the circumstance. Ensuring that you put forth the strongest appeal possible and that the appellate court applies the right standard of review is a key aspect of securing the benefits that you deserve.

In a recent claim, the worker suffered neck and spinal injuries while employed with a trucking company as a driver. Her employer and its workers’ compensation insurer appealed a decision from a lower court denying its request to terminate her temporary total disability benefits. Specifically, the employer and insurer alleged that the lower court erred in concluding that the worker was disabled after her doctor released her in December 2015 to “return to full activities.”

The appellate court began by noting the standard of review that it must apply, which is to review findings of fact to determine whether “any competent evidence supports the Commission’s findings … and whether the findings of fact support the Commission’s conclusions of law.”

Work-related injuries are always damaging and disruptive for the employee. In the most unfortunate cases, however, they result in the loss of the worker’s life. North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act allows a surviving relative to seek death benefits to help cope with the financial stress of the sudden and unexpected loss. There are countless considerations and laws that must be taken into account when developing a strategy for recovering damages, and no two cases are alike. As seasoned North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers, we have the skills and experience it takes to ensure that your family receives the fair outcome that it deserves.

Recently, the North Carolina appellate court considered a case in which an employee lost his life in a motor vehicle accident while driving a truck for his employer. He was operating the employer’s vehicle at the time of the crash, which was insured under an auto policy. The order also required the insurer to pay the widow five hundred weekly payments of roughly $650 each and over $8,000 for funeral expenses. The total amount of benefits amounted to approximately $333,000 dollars.

The widow was then appointed as the personal representative for the decedent’s estate. She filed a wrongful death action against the driver who caused the crash and his father. The plaintiff reached a settlement of roughly $950,000 for these claims including the policy limits for the at-fault driver’s auto insurance.

Store owners have a duty to keep their land in a reasonably safe condition for visitors and guests, but there are still countless incidences of shoppers becoming injured due to North Carolina slip and fall accidents. In some instances, the injuries that the victim suffers can be devastating and even life-altering.  At Maurer Law, we proudly assist North Carolina residents with holding negligent storeowners responsible for failing to keep their premises safe.

Obtaining any evidence possible to show that the defendant’s conduct caused your injuries is a critical step to securing the compensation that you deserve. A North Carolina Court of Appeal recently heard a case in which the plaintiff alleged that she slipped and fell on an oily substance in the defendant’s store in the Wake Forest neighborhood. She was shopping with a friend who caught her as she fell. The store manager had her fill out a customer statement in which she wrote that there was a greasy substance with food particles on the floor. She also reported that her right hip and ankle were painful. The manager informed the plaintiff that the incident was on camera, but there was no surveillance of the accident. The woman did not seek medical attention.

After a jury trial, the jury concluded that the defendant’s conduct was not the cause of the plaintiff’s alleged injuries. The trial court denied the plaintiff’s motion for a new trial and the plaintiff appealed, challenging a number of items including the jury instructions that the court provided to the jury and the denial of her motion for a new trial.

A key aspect of a workers’ compensation claim is to determine the severity and scope of the injury to assess whether the worker will be paid partial or total injury benefits as well as permanent or temporary injury benefits. This is a complicated process that involves a thorough examination of the employee’s work history, physical assessment, and other factors. As seasoned North Carolina work injury lawyers, we can help you ensure that you receive the amount of benefit payments that you deserve.

In a recent case, the North Carolina appellate court discussed the process for assessing whether a worker has sufficiently proven that he or she lost wages as a result of the work injury. The plaintiff owned a stump grinding business and fell while he was working in October 2012. He was diagnosed with a rupture to his quadriceps and required surgery. He had a second rupture in February 2013 that also required surgery.

Eventually, the plaintiff’s doctor concluded that he’d reached maximum medical improvement and that he had a 15% permanent partial disability in his left knee. A second opinion from another doctor concluded that it was a 20% permanent partial disability. An independent medical examiner concluded that the plaintiff could continue working in the same capacity.

One of the most important determinations in a workers’ compensation claim is whether the alleged injury can be directly related to the claimant’s job duties and functions. If the employer can point to a pre-existing injury as the primary cause of your pain and injury, then you may not be awarded workers’ compensation benefits. As dedicated North Carolina work injury lawyers, we have provided seasoned legal guidance to injured parties throughout the region and are prepared to help you ensure that you receive the full amount of compensation that you deserve.

Recently, the North Carolina Court of Appeal considered a dispute in a claim involving a pre-existing injury. The claimant worked at a hospital where she was injured on April 20. Roughly one month later on May 26, she stood up after finishing her lunch, heard a loud popping noise in her knee, and experienced immediate unbearable pain.

The plaintiff filed a claim seeking compensation for the original injury. She also had a history of conditions in both knees, starting roughly 40 years ago. The employer accepted the claim on a medical-only basis and denied further treatment on the basis that the claimant’s current condition was not causally related to the accident. It also denied the injury that occurred one month after the accident. A Deputy Commissioner denied the woman’s claim for benefits, which was later affirmed by the Full Commission.