North Carolina Appellate Court Discusses the Types of Claims that Fall under the Workers’ Compensation System

A difficult aspect of some workers’ compensation claims is proving that the injury was the direct result of your job duties. Many insurers and employers will attempt to argue that your injury was the result of some other activity or factor, such as a hobby or a pre-existing condition. As dedicated North Carolina work injury lawyers, we have assisted numerous individuals with ensuring that they receive the fair treatment they deserve following a painful and debilitating accident at work.

In a recent claim, the plaintiff filed a claim alleging that he received negligent care from a medical professional when he was treated for a stroke that he suffered at work. Plaintiff also filed a workers’ compensation claim based on the same situation. The workers’ compensation claim was dismissed on the basis that the injuries that the plaintiff suffered were not caused by his job duties or occupation and that as a result he was not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The plaintiff did not appeal the denial of his claim.

The defendants in the civil case moved to dismiss the matter alleging that the plaintiff’s appropriate remedy was through the workers’ compensation system. The trial court denied the motion for summary judgment and the defendants appealed. The court concluded that it had jurisdiction over the medical negligence claims and that the facts giving rise to the plaintiff’s claim did not arise out of the course and scope of the plaintiff’s employment. It also relied on the Industrial Commission’s denial of the plaintiff’s claim for benefits in reaching this conclusion.

On appeal, the court affirmed the dismissal of the motion for summary judgment. It noted that while the workers’ compensation laws provide benefits and medical expenses reimbursement for injuries that occur as the direct result of an employee’s job duties, the system is designed to only compensate injuries that arise from the course and scope of the employment. The medical professional’s failure to properly diagnose and treat the plaintiff following his stroke were not acts that occurred within the course and scope of the plaintiff’s employment.

The court also noted that injuries that fall under the workers’ compensation system are injuries that are a probable consequence of the nature of the employment. The stroke was not caused by the plaintiff’s employment as a grinding machine operator and the negligent care rendered by the medical defendants to address the stroke was not a foreseeable injury that he may suffer as a result of his employment. If the employee had suffered an injury as a direct result of his job duties such as operating, inspecting, or repairing the machine, then that injury would have probably fallen within the workers’ compensation system.

If you were hurt at work and believe that you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, our diligent team of North Carolina work injury lawyers are prepared to help you investigate your claim. We will assist you with each step of the process from gathering medical evidence to negotiating with insurance companies. We provide a free consultation so that you can learn more about your potential claim and whether we can assist you. Call us at 1-844-817-8058 or contact us online to get started.