Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation

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.

There are many ways that a prevailing party in a lawsuit can win an award of attorney’s fees, which means the other party must pay the prevailing party’s costs incurred in hiring an attorney. This can make a substantial difference financially, especially if the lawsuit has gone on for a long period of time. In some instances, the losing party will fight the prevailing party’s request for attorney’s fees. As dedicated North Carolina workers compensation lawyers, we are well versed in the rule that governs claims proceedings, including when you might be entitled to having your attorney’s fees reimbursed.

In a recent lawsuit, the North Carolina Supreme Court considered whether a lower court acted correctly in denying to award attorney’s fees to the plaintiff under a North Carolina statute. The statute in question, N.C.G.S. §97-90(c), state that where an attorney has an agreement for a fee, it shall be filed with the Commission and if the agreement is not unreasonable, it shall be approved.

The worker was employed as a bartender when he suffered two back injuries in 2010. He sought workers’ compensation benefits, which he was awarded. The plaintiff underwent back surgery and therapy, but his disability did not improve and continued to worsen. He eventually required attendant care medical services, which the defendants agreed to provide if they could take the depositions of two of the plaintiff’s doctors. The plaintiff and his attorney modified their retainer agreement at this time to include fees for the attorney in the event that attendant care services were awarded.

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Work injuries are incredibly stressful and disruptive for the victim, especially if it is unclear whether you will be able to return to work. The seasoned North Carolina work injury lawyers at Maurer Law have handled many different types of injuries on behalf of hard-working individuals and we are ready to use our skills and experience on your behalf.

The North Carolina appellate court recently considered a claim in which the worker suffered injuries to her neck and spine while working as a truck driver, which required her to maintain a Class A commercial license. Obtaining this license requires the applicant to undergo a medical examination on a periodic basis. She injured her back and spine while operating the landing gear on her vehicle. The company told her that there was no light duty work available. Eventually, the Industrial Commission concluded that she had suffered a work-related injury and she was entitled to temporary total disability benefits.

The woman underwent treatment for her injuries, including a surgical procedure. She was unable to work for several weeks after the surgery. Her treating physician testified that her injury would affect her for the rest of her life, in terms of her ability to move and lift heavy objects. He did indicate that she was able to return to full activities. He prescribed her Vicodin as needed and referred her to the DMV or federal Department of Transportation to determine whether she could return to truck driving.

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If you were injured at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Our dedicated team of North Carolina work injury lawyers have assisted individuals throughout the region with a wide variety of injury types and legal issues. The workers’ compensation process can be very complex, which is why it helps to have an experienced legal advocate on your side.

In a recent case, the North Carolina appellate court considered a claim in which the worker hurt his back while working in the produce department of a grocery store. He was lifting watermelons from a bin which required him to bend over and scoop them out of the bin. He experienced a sudden onset of pain in his right arm and shoulder. A medical exam was conducted and the doctor concluded that the injury was likely neurological in nature. The MRI revealed acute and chronic damage to his spine with multilevel degenerative disc disease. The doctor attributed it to a sudden event but noted that MRIs do not indicate when an injury occurred. He also identified narrowing of the worker’s spinal cord.

He underwent further treatment, including a decompression surgery for his spine. One of his doctors testified that he could not give a medical opinion with a reasonable degree of certainty regarding whether the incident with the watermelons was the primary cause of his injury. The employer challenged the worker’s claim for benefits on the basis that the injury was chronic and not related to the course and scope of his employment. The Commission agreed with the employer and the worker appealed.

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When an employee is hurt at work, the workers’ compensation system may provide him or her with benefit payments to replace weekly wages as well as reimbursement for medical expenses. Understanding the claims process can be very stressful, especially if this is your first encounter with seeking benefits. The dedicated North Carolina work injury lawyers at Maurer Law are prepared to help you ensure that you protect your legal rights to the fullest extent.

In a recent claim, the plaintiff worked in a major department store for nearly 22 years when she tripped and fell forward over the bottom of a stairway ladder. She attempted to break her fall and struck her wrist on the cement floor as well as her shoulder and knee. The plaintiff received emergency medical treatment for her injuries and she was diagnosed with a shoulder sprain. She followed up with the doctor several times complaining of continued pain in her wrist, shoulder, arm, neck, and knee. She underwent many additional medical examinations and treatments to address her pain and symptoms.

The plaintiff filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits and the employer accepted plaintiff’s claim and identified the injury as impacting her right shoulder and arm. The insurer later filed a form indicating that it denied compensability of any new injuries that the plaintiff reported outside of her employment involving her cervical spine. The matter came before a Deputy Commissioner for hearing and he concluded that the plaintiff had suffered a work-related injury that impacted her wrist, knee, and pre-existing cervical disc disease. The plaintiff was awarded benefits and compensation for her medical expenses, including any surgical procedures that were recommended.

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When you are injured at work, you may be prevented from returning to your usual occupation either for a temporary period of time or indefinitely. There are many different rules in the North Carolina workers’ compensation laws that require an injured worker to make a reasonable effort to find suitable work in the event that he or she cannot return to his or her usual employment. One of the most common defenses that employers assert is that the injured worker did not perform a diligent search. At Maurer Law, we have substantial experience ensuring that workers are treated fairly in a workers’ compensation claim and that they receive the full amount of benefits that they deserve.

A recent North Carolina appellate opinion discusses the issue of reasonableness. The worker was injured in an accident involving a flatbed truck during the course and scope of his employment. He received emergency medical treatment and complained of pain in the left side of his back, hip, and knee. He received treatment for his injuries including physical therapy and pain medication. He eventually returned to work, but indicated that his back pain increased. The employee attempted to obtain different positions with his employer but was unable to qualify for the positions due to his back pain.

The worker continued to undergo different medical treatments and examinations for his back pain. He was eventually diagnosed with non-mechanical back pain and a spinal contusion.

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In a workers’ compensation claim, the injured employee usually must undergo medical examinations to determine the nature and extent of his or her injury. This often involves assessing any pre-existing injuries, which raises issues about protecting the worker’s privacy regarding his or her medical information. As seasoned North Carolina work injury lawyers, we understand how daunting and confusing the claims process can be and we understand the concerns that you likely have about putting your medical history on display. We are standing by and ready to help you determine whether seeking workers’ compensation benefits is right for you.

In a recent claim, the North Carolina appellate court considered the scope of privacy rights regarding medical information that applies to an award of benefits. When the Industrial Commission enters an Award, it provides a written decision explaining its reasoning and basis for making the award. Judges must provide the evidentiary bases for reaching a conclusion regarding whether or not a claimant is entitled to benefits. These evidentiary findings include medical records, as well as expert witness reports and testimony regarding the claimant’s medical condition and health history. The Awards are then uploaded into a publicly available database that can be searched online.

In the case at hand, the plaintiff suffered an injury when he slipped and fell on a wet floor while moving pallets at work, resulting in a lower back injury. During the claim, the employer’s insurance company claimed that the plaintiff was no longer disabled and that he had failed to cooperate with the medical care and further treatment authorized and paid for by the insurer. The plaintiff refuted these allegations. His attorney sought permission to withdrawal, which was granted, and the plaintiff proceeded pro se. This means that he represented himself without counsel.

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Many workers’ compensation claims involve physical injuries like strained muscles, broken bones, and chronic back pain. The workers’ compensation system also provides benefits and medical expenses reimbursement for injuries involving psychiatric conditions and mental health. Just like any workers’ compensation claim, however, it is critical to obey all the procedural and evidentiary rules that govern the compensation process. As seasoned North Carolina work injury lawyers, we are prepared to help you navigate the claims process smoothly and efficiently while ensuring that you receive the outcome that you deserve.

In a recent claim, the worker alleged that she suffered from bipolar disorder and depression as a result of working at a bank as a personal banker. The employer’s insurance carrier denied the claim as non-compensable. The plaintiff filed a request to have the denial reviewed and the commissioner who reviewed the claim denied it.

The plaintiff did not file an appeal. Instead, sometime later she filed a motion to set aside the denial based on newly discovered evidence. She alleged that she suffered the disabilities as a result of practices used by the defendant that she described as “sub-human” and alleged that these practices only became knowable after the statute of limitations had expired. Plaintiff’s motion was ultimately denied and she appealed.

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There several steps involved in a North Carolina workers’ compensation claim that a claimant must complete before receiving an award of benefits and reimbursement for medical expenses.  For example, the reviewing judge will scrutinize all medical evidence that the parties present and determine whether your injury is the direct result of your work duties. As dedicated work injury lawyers, the attorneys at Maurer Law understand how important it is to abide by all applicable procedural rules and to present your claim in the most favorable manner possible.

In a recent appellate opinion, the court considered whether a lower court made an appropriate determination regarding whether a welder’s lung disease was the direct result of his job duties and functions. The man’s welding job required him to perform a type of welding that produced large volumes of smoke and fumes. In 2009, he was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pulmonary impairment. His doctor told him that the condition was caused by or contributed to his employment and welding activities. He was awarded social security benefits starting in May 2010.

Next, the man went to work for a temporary staffing agency and spent 80% of his time working each day. His assignment lasted 18 days over a one-month period. In January 2011, the worker filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits and named several of his prior employers regarding his COPD. All but the temporary staffing agency entered into a settlement with the man.

Work-related injuries can be very complex and it can be difficult to determine the full extent of the harm at the moment the injury happens. Ensuring that you receive the medical treatment and diagnoses that you deserve is a key part of any workers’ compensation claim. At Maurer Law, our North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers have handled countless claims involving a broad variety of injuries. We are standing by and ready to help you seek the compensation that you deserve.

In a recent workers’ compensation claim, a worker was injured while working as a lead installer for a security systems company. The worker reported feeling a sudden pop and the onset of pain in his lower back while lifting some hardware. A few days later, he went to an urgent care facility to receive treatment. The doctor recommended that he switch to light-duty work and receive physical therapy. He filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, which the employer accepted.

Soon thereafter, he returned to the same doctor, reporting ongoing pain in his lower back and buttocks but indicated that the physical therapy was helpful. Over the following months, however, he indicated that his pain worsened. His treating physician recommended work conditioning but the man could not complete it due to bladder incontinence. He eventually saw a doctor about the incontinence, who concluded that it might be related to his back injury and that he should seek a second opinion. The insurance carrier denied the worker’s request for consultations with a neurosurgeon and orthopedist, but the worker went and saw them anyway. The exam revealed that he suffered a lumbar disc desiccation that required surgery. The man returned to the physician a while later and reported symptoms that suggested he was suffering from deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

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