North Carolina Court Upholds Denial of Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Epoxy Fumes Exposure Permanent Disability 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.

The plaintiff submitted a workers’ compensation claim, which the employer originally denied. The Industrial Commission reviewed the denial and filed an opinion affirming the employer’s denial. The plaintiff appealed. A Full Commission reviewed the claim again and concluded that the plaintiff’s claim was properly denied because she failed to show by a preponderance of the medical expert testimony and evidence that her alleged injuries were suffered because of the fumes from the epoxy. The plaintiff appealed again.

The reviewing court upheld the denial, concluding that the record lacked any evidence that the plaintiff’s symptoms were tied to the epoxy fumes. More specifically, the reviewing court pointed out that although there was direct evidence of the fumes and the plaintiff’s injury, nothing the plaintiff offered showed that the plaintiff’s injuries were results of the fumes or exposure to them.

If you were injured on the job, you can file a workers’ compensation claim to recover benefits for your lost wages and reimbursement for lost medical expenses. At Maurer Law, we pride ourselves on helping injured North Carolina residents understand their legal rights after a traumatic work injury. To speak with a member of our seasoned legal team, call us now at 1-844-817-8058 or contact us online.

Related Posts:

North Carolina Appellate Court Approves Arbitration Award in Underinsured Motorist Accident Claim but Reverses Judgment Providing Pre-Award Interest

North Carolina Appellate Court Reverses Order Denying Benefits to Injured Employee in Pre-Existing Back Injury Claim

North Carolina Appellate Court Affirms Dismissal of Personal Injury Lawsuit for Failure to Abide by Procedural Rules and Deadlines