Gavel on PaperThere are many important procedural rules that parties must follow when it comes to a personal injury lawsuit. If you do not file certain documents by certain deadlines, or fail to respond to certain documents, you may waive your right to compensation. As experienced North Carolina personal injury lawyers, we are well-versed in North Carolina’s rules and can ensure that your claim is handled effectively and appropriately.

A recent appellate opinion highlights how important it is to abide by procedural rules. In the case, the plaintiff filed a complaint against certain defendants, alleging that she suffered injuries as a result of their medical malpractice. The plaintiff dismissed the lawsuit voluntarily over one year after it was filed. Pursuant to Rule 41(d), the plaintiff was required to pay costs upon the voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit. Roughly one year later, the plaintiff filed the lawsuit again, and the defendant responded by filing a motion seeking costs pursuant to Rule 41(d).

Shortly thereafter, the court entered a Consent Order that required the plaintiff to pay costs to the defendant and noted that failing to pay costs within the stated time period would result in the dismissal of the current lawsuit. The defendant emailed a copy of the Consent Order to the plaintiff and later filed a Certificate of Service for the Consent Order. The payment period lapsed, and a few days later the plaintiff notified the defendant via email that a check for costs was being sent. The defendant received the payment but refused to cash the check, stating that it would seek a dismissal of the action pursuant to the Consent Order. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss, and the plaintiff appealed.

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wheel of cheeseIf 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.

Man on ScaffoldingIf 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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Multi Colored PillsThe North Carolina workers’ compensation system is intended to provide compensation to injured workers who suffered harm while on the job. This mandate is clear, but the claims process is often complex and can take quite a bit of time to navigate. At Maurer Law, our work injury lawyers are ready to assist you with determining whether you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

In a recent decision, the North Carolina Industrial Commission considered whether an insurer can change an employee’s treating medical providers and treatment plan after the employee is awarded benefits. In the claim, the employee suffered an injury to her back when she was lifting and pushing an object of considerable weight at work. The employer had an insurance policy that provided liability insurance under a prior version of the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. After the employee filed a claim for benefits, the parties agreed that the plaintiff’s injury was a compensable work injury.

Next, the plaintiff had a surgical fusion to address her back pain and then another series of procedures throughout the years, including a procedure to remove hardware and a cervical discectomy. The plaintiff was referred to a pain management doctor by her orthopedic surgeon, and she began seeing this doctor in 2002.

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Insurance Requirements PaperIf you are injured by another motorist in a car accident, you probably have countless questions about your insurance coverage and whether the other motorist’s insurance will be sufficient to cover your losses and damages. Our dedicated North Carolina car accident attorneys have assisted many victims with navigating the insurance claims process after suffering injuries inflicted by a careless driver. We are also seasoned trial lawyers who are not afraid to take the matter to litigation if that is what is necessary to protect your rights.

In a recent appellate opinion, the court considered whether the primary underinsured motorist insurer can obtain an offset for any liability payments that it made to an accident victim when there are multiple underinsured motorist insurers involved. The underlying facts of the case are as follows. A man was driving his son’s vehicle with his wife as a passenger at the time of the incident. The man fell asleep while driving, and the car collided with a tree after veering off the roadway at a high speed. The man’s wife, unfortunately, died in the crash, and the son suffered serious injuries.

The son had three insurance policies with the same insurer. The policies each provided liability and underinsured motorist coverage in the amount of $100,000 for each person and $300,000 for each accident. One of these policies applied to the vehicle involved in the accident, while the other two were taken out for different vehicles. The man also had an insurance policy through a different insurer that provided similar amounts of coverage. In each of the policies involved, there was the same language regarding underinsured motorist coverage.

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Uneven Concrete SquaresOne of the most serious dangers that you can face is a dangerous property that is not maintained in a safe condition. As seasoned North Carolina slip and fall attorneys, we have seen firsthand how disruptive an accident can be for the victim and his or her loved ones. If you were injured on another person’s property, we can help.

In a recent North Carolina appellate opinion, the plaintiff had parked her car in a handicap parking space at a mall in Henderson County. When the plaintiff exited her vehicle, she tripped and fell on a portion of pavement that was uneven. In her complaint, she alleged that she sustained severe and painful injuries as a result of the fall. The incident was reported to the property manager, who prepared a report regarding the incident. The facility had a policy that any occurrences on the property would be reported.

After the lawsuit commenced, the plaintiff served interrogatories on the defendants and asked for copies of any and all incident reports that were prepared regarding the trip and fall. The defendants refused to provide the report, stating that it was protected under the rule that protects information prepared in anticipation of litigation. This is similar to the attorney-client privilege rule, which protects information shared between a client and attorney for the purpose of obtaining legal advice.

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People Lifting TireSometimes work injuries result in serious consequences for the victims, including death. Although some work injuries are clear-cut when it comes to whether the work-related accident was the cause of the injury or unfortunate death, other cases are rife with issues regarding causation. At Maurer Law, our North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers have handled many workers’ compensation claims on behalf of victims and grieving families, and we are ready to assist you in asserting your right to compensation.

In a recent appellate opinion, the court considered a workplace injury that eventually resulted in the death of an employee who suffered groin and abdomen injuries on the job. The injury occurred while the victim was attempting to lift a tire. He did not immediately die from these injuries. The employer and workers’ compensation insurer accepted the validity of the claim and filed a corresponding form that admitted the employee’s right to compensation. The insurer then began providing temporary total disability payments to the decedent’s estate in a certain amount until the victim passed away. The insurer also provided compensation for medical expenses that the decedent incurred, including surgeries, chronic pain, and extensive additional procedures, treatments, and medications.

Some time thereafter, the decedent was diagnosed with colon cancer and underwent additional treatments and multiple surgeries to address this treatment, including chemotherapy. The decedent continued to experience pain and symptoms associated with his various conditions. One day, he reported to the emergency room, complaining of severe pain in his abdomen and difficulty urinating. He eventually underwent an emergency surgery to treat a catastrophic necrotic bowel, but he did not regain consciousness following surgery and passed away shortly thereafter. The primary cause of death listed was bowel ischemia.

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Tree on RoadwayCar accidents can arise in a wide variety of circumstances. One of the most common issues in a pedestrian accident case is whether the plaintiff was contributorily negligent. As seasoned North Carolina pedestrian accident attorneys, the lawyers at Maurer Law are prepared to help you evaluate your potential claim and to assist you with protecting your right to compensation.

A recent appellate decision discussed whether the driver of a vehicle that struck a tree lying across the roadway on which the plaintiff was standing was liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff was driving a truck near Asheville in an evening during October 2015. The plaintiff’s father was a passenger in the vehicle. While driving toward their home, they observed a tree branch that had fallen across the roadway and was hanging off the ground. The plaintiff’s father told the plaintiff to slow down, and they pulled over to remove the branch. They turned on the vehicle’s traffic lights, and the plaintiff’s father contacted his wife to ask her to bring a chainsaw to their location. The plaintiff climbed onto the tree so that he could get across and attempt to wave down any passing cars while waiting for the chainsaw. A vehicle approached, and the plaintiff started waving his arms to get the vehicle operator’s attention. The plaintiff’s father testified later that the plaintiff had been goofing around while on the tree and that he did not get down from the tree as the vehicle approached because they thought it was going to stop.

The driver of the approaching vehicle testified that the sun was shining into his windshield immediately before the incident, making it difficult for him to see the plaintiff on the tree. The oncoming car collided with the tree, and on impact a branch struck the plaintiff in the head and threw him onto the adjacent roadway. The plaintiff was airlifted to the hospital and required serious medical attention.

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construction siteRecently, two North Carolina plaintiffs appealed after the defendants’ summary judgment motion was granted in a case alleging negligence, gross negligence, battery, assault, vicarious liability, and reckless infliction of emotional distress, among other causes of action.

This North Carolina personal injury case arose when the defendants started constructing on a piece of property adjacent to the plaintiffs’ home. The construction company’s trucks used the plaintiffs’ driveway as a turnaround for large construction trucks. This damaged the plaintiffs’ driveway. The plaintiff explained to an employee (the defendant) that he’d given some information about their own home and how valuable it was to them. The goal of the plaintiff was to make sure the construction company and its employees understood the importance of the property, since they were turning around on their little driveway, which was made of river rocks. The plaintiff was concerned that the workers were tearing up the driveway and being inconsiderate.

The defendant’s construction workers kept using the driveway as a turnaround. The plaintiff and the defendant spoke three times about the workers using the driveway. The defendant told the plaintiff he had a small crew and would talk to them about it.

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barbed wireIn a recent North Carolina injury decision, the defendant doctors appealed the lower court’s denial of their motions to dismiss based on grounds of public official immunity. The plaintiff started his case against the defendants in their individual capacities and also claimed that the doctors (both employed by the Department of Public Safety) were negligent.

The claims alleged the doctors hadn’t met the professional standard of care for doctors when treating the incarcerated plaintiff. He claimed he started suffering serious back pain in 2012, and he turned in the first of multiple requests for medical care. For 10 months, nurses, the doctor’s assistants, and a doctor repeatedly evaluated him for his back pain. One of the doctors evaluated him nine times and asked for an MRI to be done. A member of the review board, also a doctor, denied the request for an MRI and instead recommended a month of physical therapy. The plaintiff kept submitting requests as he got worse.

Eventually, a doctor’s assistant sent the plaintiff to the ER for treatment. There, imaging showed that the plaintiff’s L3-L4 vertebra had eroded and that he had a spinal infection. The plaintiff claimed that it was medical malpractice for his doctor to fail to treat his condition and for the board member to refuse the requested treatment.

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