Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation

The North Carolina workers’ compensation system is complex, and there are many different requirements and legal rules that could affect your ability to recover benefits. At Maurer Law, we have the experience it takes to assist injured workers with receiving the fair treatment they deserve after a work-related injury

In a recent claim appeal, the court considered whether an employee’s injury was compensable in light of a dispute regarding whether it arose out of his employment duties. The plaintiff worked as a press operator for a manufacturing plant for 28 years. On the day of the injury, it was very hot, and he arrived for his shift in the afternoon after spending the beginning of the day tilling potatoes. Toward the end of his shift, the plaintiff collapsed. He did not remember what happened leading up to his collapse and loss of consciousness. The plaintiff received treatment at the hospital, and an MRI test showed that he incurred an injury to his right shoulder as a result of the fall, which required two surgeries.

The plaintiff filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits that was initially denied. The plaintiff sought a rehearing, and the Commissioner concluded that the plaintiff’s injury did not arise out of his employment, so the injury was not compensable. The plaintiff appealed.

workers' compOnce you are awarded workers’ compensation benefits, it is important that you protect your right to continue receiving those benefits for as long as you are legally entitled to receive them. Many insurers will attempt to terminate benefit payments after an initial award. As seasoned North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers, we are standing by and ready to help you protect your right to benefits at any stage of the proceedings.

In a recent workers’ compensation appeal, the worker was a 68-year-old man who was injured while working as a meat cutter. The man’s job description provided that people in his position must be able to lift up to 100 pounds on a routine basis and must be able to reach from 6 inches to 72 inches. The description also listed stooping, kneeling, crouching, balancing, and climbing as regular activities. The man sustained an injury to his lower back, right hip, and right extremities while lifting a box of meat from the top of a stack of boxes.

The man received medical treatment that showed serious injuries, including multilevel disc bulging, spinal and foraminal stenosis, and spondylolysis. The employer and its insurer admitted compensability of the injury and began paying temporary total disability benefits. The worker then underwent a functional capacity evaluation which determined that he could not return to his job as a meat cutter but that he was able to perform light physical demand work. He was later determined to have reached maximum medical improvement, but he claimed he continued to experience serious pain in his lower back and right leg. Over the course of the next few years, he continued to receive medical treatment and used a cane occasionally to provide assistance with walking.

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workers compThere are many rules that apply to the workers’ compensation process and that can affect your right to recover benefits. This is why it is critical to consult with an experienced and competent North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney. A recent appellate opinion demonstrates the impact that some of these rules can have on your right to recovery.

The plaintiff suffered serious injuries on the job when he was unloading a truck and a pallet jack failed, causing a pallet to fall and pin the plaintiff’s leg. He suffered a broken ankle and required surgery to address the problem. The surgery did not successfully resolve all of the plaintiff’s injuries. Further examination noted that the screw used in the first surgery was too long so another doctor removed and replaced it. Additional examination suggested that the plaintiff required a third surgery, but he stated that he did not want to undergo another procedure. He was provided with a brace for his ankle at this time.

Sometime thereafter, the plaintiff was released by the doctor as having reached maximum medical improvement with some restrictions, including sedentary work only and short periods of walking and standing. He was also assigned a 15% permanent partial impairment for his ankle injury.

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man in wheelchairThe North Carolina workers’ compensation system can be intimidating for injured workers. This is especially true if you are coping with painful conditions or facing a lifetime of disabilities. At Maurer Law, we have guided many North Carolina workers through the claims process and helped them ensure that they receive the full amount of compensation that they deserve.

In a recent claim, an employer appealed from an opinion that awarded an injured worker benefits and compensation for an injury that she sustained on the job. The man suffered a devastating injury when he was pinned between his delivery vehicle and another vehicle. The employer did not dispute that the injury arose from his work duties, nor did it dispute his claim that he suffered injuries to his right leg and back. The defendant provided workers’ compensation wage loss benefits to the man in addition to medical benefits for treatment that he received following the accident. The man continued to suffer serious health problems stemming from the accident, involving a staggering 390 surgical procedures and the amputation of his leg up to the buttock. He also experienced kidney failure and other medical issues, such as depression, dental problems, elevated cholesterol, and diabetes.

In its appeal, the employer argued that the North Carolina Industrial Commission did not have appropriate jurisdiction over the injured worker’s benefits claim and that it was a reversible error for the Commission to award benefits to the worker. More specifically, the employer argued that the court erred in awarding benefits for attendant care costs that he received prior to the date upon which he initiated his workers’ compensation claim.

Shiny Epoxy FloorWhen you are injured at work, you probably have many questions about whether you are entitled to compensation or financial support. One of the most critical aspects of establishing your right to workers’ compensation benefits is showing that your injury occurred as a direct result of your employment. Insurance companies often acknowledge that an employee suffered an injury but deny a claim on the basis that the employee’s injury was caused by some other non-work related factor. At Maurer Law, our knowledgeable and experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers are ready to help you secure the benefits that you deserve.

A recent claim demonstrates how important causation is for workers’ compensation claims. On the date that she was injured, the plaintiff reported to the building where she worked on the first floor. The basement in the building was undergoing renovations that involved painting the floors with epoxy overnight. A worker who applied the epoxy accidentally left a door open to the first floor, which allowed paint fumes to travel into the rest of the building and to recirculate through the first and second floors. The plaintiff reported experiencing symptoms of lightheadedness, headaches, and nausea after reporting to work. Eventually, the employer advised employees that they could return home. The plaintiff continued to experience these symptoms and eventually reported to an urgent care facility. The doctor there advised her to stay home.

She returned to work, but her symptoms did not subside. She suffered from such severe breathing problems that she reported to the emergency department at times. She eventually was seen by a pulmonologist, who ordered her to stop working for two weeks. The plaintiff was relocated to another building after she returned to work, but she continued to experience problems. She left employment at the facility in May 2014 and reported having to make substantial lifestyle changes to accommodate her symptoms and chemical sensitivity. According to the plaintiff, she is unable to work in any facility outside her home.

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flexing back musclesIf you were injured on the job, there are certain rules and procedures that govern whether you are able to recover compensation and benefit payments. Knowing which documents to file and ensuring that you preserve your rights can be stressful on top of coping with your injuries and inability to work. At Maurer Law, our reliable team of North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers is standing by and ready to assist you in ensuring that you receive the full amount of compensation that you deserve.

In a recent appellate decision, the North Carolina Court of Appeal considered whether an injured worker filed a back injury claim within the appropriate deadline against a specific insurance company. The plaintiff suffered a back injury while she was employed as a nurse in 2007. She filed a claim seeking workers’ compensation benefits, and the insurer for her employer accepted liability on the claim. The plaintiff sought additional compensation a year later. Throughout the next five years, the plaintiff suffered additional accidents at work that caused her back injury to worsen. The insurer did not dispute whether these were compensable injuries and provided medical compensation until the plaintiff was able to return to work.

Also during the five-year time period, the workers’ compensation insurer for the defendant changed twice. In January 2012, the plaintiff suffered another injury and was diagnosed with recurrent back pain. The current insurer denied coverage for an MRI that her treating physician recommended. The insurer claimed that the plaintiff needed to file a new claim for benefits with the new insurer reflecting the new injury. The insurer overall challenged whether the new back injury was causally related to the original back injury. After additional hearings and proceedings, the Commission concluded that the new back injury was not causally related to the existing back injury. Since the employee did not file a claim with the new insurer within two years after suffering the new back injury, the Commission dismissed her claim for benefits.

wheel of cheeseIf you were hurt at work, you probably have numerous questions about whether you can receive workers’ compensation benefits and how to go about preserving your rights. At Maurer Law, our North Carolina work injury lawyers have proudly assisted numerous individuals with securing their right to compensation after suffering a painful and disruptive work injury. In a recent opinion, a North Carolina appellate court considered whether an employee who suffered injuries while working at a grocery store should be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The worker suffered a right shoulder and arm injury when he attempted to lift a box of cheese from a cooler that was not marked with a weight and that was placed oddly on the pallets inside the cooler.

After receiving medical attention, the worker was diagnosed with a bicep tear and torn rotator cuff, along with other associated injuries. He received surgery, injections, and physical therapy to address his injury. During testimony regarding the injury, the worker testified that he had never lifted a box heavier than 15 pounds prior to the injury and that this box was significantly heavier than other boxes he had lifted unassisted. The job description for his position indicated that lifting of 10-pound boxes was frequent and that occasional lifting of 50-pound boxes was necessary. The worker testified that he had not seen this job description when he was transferred to his position at the cheese department from the deli, and he also stated that the description did not accurately portray the requirements of the job.

The defendant denied the worker’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits. After a hearing on the denial, the Commission affirmed the denial, and the plaintiff appealed. The reviewing Commission panel awarded benefits to the employee, finding that the unusually large box of cheese was a deviation from his usual work routine and that he was unfamiliar with the fact that larger boxes of cheese were ordered every several weeks that would require assistance with lifting. The defendant appealed.

Man on ScaffoldingIf you were injured on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. There are many rules and procedures that apply to the claims process, and it is essential that you have an experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer standing by your side to help you assert your right to the maximum amount of benefits for which you qualify.

In a recent opinion from the North Carolina Industrial Commission, an injured worker appealed from an order that denied his claim for additional benefits and granted to the employer a credit for overpayment of the benefits that the employee had received to date. The worker alleged that the Commission made a reversible error when it determined that the employee failed to prove that he was suffering from an ongoing disability.

The plaintiff was 55 years old and worked as a drywall finisher when his injury occurred. According to evidence in the record, his job duties involved lifting heavy objects that weighed roughly 65 pounds. The plaintiff worked on and off for many years, and there were pay disputes regarding some of his jobs. In May 2012, the worker injured his left wrist and elbow in a scaffolding accident that resulted in a 20-foot fall. The worker required several surgeries and recovered at a hospital before he returned home.

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Multi Colored PillsThe North Carolina workers’ compensation system is intended to provide compensation to injured workers who suffered harm while on the job. This mandate is clear, but the claims process is often complex and can take quite a bit of time to navigate. At Maurer Law, our work injury lawyers are ready to assist you with determining whether you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

In a recent decision, the North Carolina Industrial Commission considered whether an insurer can change an employee’s treating medical providers and treatment plan after the employee is awarded benefits. In the claim, the employee suffered an injury to her back when she was lifting and pushing an object of considerable weight at work. The employer had an insurance policy that provided liability insurance under a prior version of the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. After the employee filed a claim for benefits, the parties agreed that the plaintiff’s injury was a compensable work injury.

Next, the plaintiff had a surgical fusion to address her back pain and then another series of procedures throughout the years, including a procedure to remove hardware and a cervical discectomy. The plaintiff was referred to a pain management doctor by her orthopedic surgeon, and she began seeing this doctor in 2002.

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People Lifting TireSometimes work injuries result in serious consequences for the victims, including death. Although some work injuries are clear-cut when it comes to whether the work-related accident was the cause of the injury or unfortunate death, other cases are rife with issues regarding causation. At Maurer Law, our North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers have handled many workers’ compensation claims on behalf of victims and grieving families, and we are ready to assist you in asserting your right to compensation.

In a recent appellate opinion, the court considered a workplace injury that eventually resulted in the death of an employee who suffered groin and abdomen injuries on the job. The injury occurred while the victim was attempting to lift a tire. He did not immediately die from these injuries. The employer and workers’ compensation insurer accepted the validity of the claim and filed a corresponding form that admitted the employee’s right to compensation. The insurer then began providing temporary total disability payments to the decedent’s estate in a certain amount until the victim passed away. The insurer also provided compensation for medical expenses that the decedent incurred, including surgeries, chronic pain, and extensive additional procedures, treatments, and medications.

Some time thereafter, the decedent was diagnosed with colon cancer and underwent additional treatments and multiple surgeries to address this treatment, including chemotherapy. The decedent continued to experience pain and symptoms associated with his various conditions. One day, he reported to the emergency room, complaining of severe pain in his abdomen and difficulty urinating. He eventually underwent an emergency surgery to treat a catastrophic necrotic bowel, but he did not regain consciousness following surgery and passed away shortly thereafter. The primary cause of death listed was bowel ischemia.

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