Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation

It is common practice for employers to loan out employees to assist with other projects or jobs. This can create wonderful opportunities for employees, but it also creates issues when it comes to determining which employer is liable for any injuries that the employee suffers on the job. At Maurer Law, our team of dedicated North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers has handled complex claims involving many different types of injuries and we are ready to assist you.

In a recent appellate opinion, the court considered a claim involving an employee who had been loaned out to another company. The owner of a South Carolina-based company needed help with a construction project in Florida and contacted his friend who owned a North Carolina-based company to request additional workers. The plaintiff worked for the North Carolina company and volunteered to work at the Florida job site. According to the arrangement, the South Carolina-based company agreed to pay the North Carolina employees at the completion of the job. On the job site, the worker fell while lifting furniture to the second floor of a building, sustaining multiple injuries.

The plaintiff filed a Notice of Accident requesting compensation for his injuries from his North Carolina employer’s insurance carrier. The South Carolina company’s insurance carrier had refused to pay compensation to the plaintiff for his medical bills, which totaled over $350,000, and disability benefits exceeding $44,000. The North Carolina insurer filed a request to add the South Carolina insurer and to have it be held liable for the employee’s expenses and benefits.

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Filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits is merely the first step in receiving the financial support that you need and deserve after an accident at work. Your employer’s insurance carrier may contest your claim or seek a denial of certain benefits or items of compensation. Having a seasoned North Carolina work injury lawyer on your side can make a substantial difference when it comes to proceeding through the claims process smoothly and efficiently.In a recent court opinion, an injured employee appealed the denial of her workers’ compensation claim seeking benefits for her disability and compensation for her medical treatment. The plaintiff worked for an employer that contracted to provide food services to a nursing home. The plaintiff worked in the nursing home and was often required to lift up to 50 pounds and to replace or remove heavy items on a shelf overhead. The plaintiff suffered an injury after slipping on a wet floor and falling on her left knee, arm, and hand. The plaintiff was taken to the emergency room and diagnosed with an injury to these areas. She was prescribed pain medications and a sling for her left arm. She was also prohibited from lifting more than five pounds.

During a subsequent medical examination, the plaintiff was diagnosed with a probable rotator cuff tear and a bruised knee and wrist. The restriction on lifting was maintained, and she was prohibited from pushing or pulling more than 10 pounds. The plaintiff underwent more examinations and treatments, including surgery.

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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.

On review, the appellate court first stated that an injury is compensable when it was caused by an accident during the course of employment and arose out of employment. When the origin of a fall or the reason behind a fall is unknown, the Commission must use an inference that the fall arose out of employment unless there is evidence that some force or condition independent from the employment caused the fall. According to case law, the appellate court noted that a blackout or loss of consciousness is deemed an explanation for a fall. Accordingly, the appellate court concluded that the trial court properly refused to apply the unexplained fall doctrine. The appellate court noted that the plaintiff was working in an air-conditioned environment and was allowed to eat and drink as much as he wished. He was also standing on level ground at the time of the fall and did not appear to be exerting himself in an excessive manner.

Once 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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There 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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The 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.

When 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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If 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.

If 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.

If 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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