North Carolina Appellate Court Upholds Denial of Workers’ Compensation Benefits When Worker Failed to Prove the Injury Arose out of her Employment

One of the biggest questions we receive as North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers is whether a work injury is covered under the system. The system is designed to provide compensation for injuries that happen on the job or as a direct result of a worker’s job duties. We have handled countless work injury claims and have substantial experience navigating the workers’ compensation system. We are ready to put our dedicated legal service to use on your behalf.

In a recent workers’ compensation claim, a worker suffered an injury while working as a flight attendant when she attempted to remove a wheelchair dislodged in a compartment on a plane. The defendant insurance company denied the plaintiff’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits, and a deputy commissioner determined that the worker should be awarded partial relief. The parties appealed, and the Full Commission denied the plaintiff’s claim outright on the basis of credibility.

After reviewing the basic workers’ compensation rules, the appellate court specified that for an injury to be compensable, it must happen in the course of employment, which involves reviewing the time, place, and circumstances under which the accident took place. The worker’s first basis for appeal was that the lower court did not make proper findings regarding the testimony that her co-workers provided. The appellate court disagreed. Just because the court failed to recite the testimony or make significant mention of it in its opinion did not necessarily mean that the court failed to consider the weight of the testimony. Reviewing the opinion, the judge made numerous references to the testimony and described the co-workers’ testimony in detail.

Next, the worker contended that the lower court failed to attribute proper credibility to her testimony. The opinion from the lower court stated that the worker did not provide credible testimony because there were many inconsistencies, including the date of the onset of her injuries, the date she reported the injury, and eyewitness testimony that contradicted the plaintiff’s testimony.

The appellate court also noted that the plaintiff failed to contest findings in the opinion that concluded that the plaintiff’s injury was not caused by her employment. The appellate court pointed to evidence in the record that showed that the worker missed several doctors’ appointments, failed to use a medical provider within the workers’ compensation network, and did not properly submit the claim, despite having submitted claims in the past. Based on these findings, the appellate court affirmed the denial of the plaintiff’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

If you were hurt at work, it is critical that you seek guidance from an experienced and knowledgeable Raleigh work injury lawyer as soon as possible. We know that you are probably stressed and overwhelmed by your painful injuries as well as trying to ensure that you are receiving the fair treatment that you deserve. We provide a free consultation to help you learn more about how we can assist you and whether you have a viable claim for benefits. Call us now at 1-844-817-8059 or contact us online to get started.