Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation

In North Carolina, just because a worker gets hurt at work does not necessarily mean there is a compensable claim under the NC Workers’ Compensation Act.  An injury and an accident are not the same thing.  Accidents occur when the work routine has been interrupted, and unusual conditions are created.  If you trip, fall and break your leg while doing your job, that is a compensable accident and injury.  If you are doing your normal job, in its normal manner, and experience an injury, you may not have a compensable claim.  You should call a workers compensation attorney if you have questions related to the circumstances of your injury.

The two main kinds of compensable injuries in NC are astockfresh_6098357_worker-falling-off-ladder-in-warehouse_sizeS-200x300ccidents and occupational diseases.  There are a few other categories of injuries that will qualify you for benefits, including back injuries attributable to a specific traumatic incident, and hernias under certain conditions.

The most important thing to remember is if you are hurt at work, you need to report it to your supervisor immediately and seek medical treatment as soon as possible.  Any delay in seeking treatment can be used to undermine the validity of your claim.

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Unfortunately, when many South Carolinians suffer an on the job injury, that injury results in permanent scarring or disfigurement to their body. I am often confronted with whether my client is entitled to compensation or additional compensation when they are left with permanent scarring or disfigurement. Whether the injury is a result of serious burn injuries, lacerations, or if a worker has surgical scarring it is important that they know their rights.stockfresh_270855_scar-4_sizeS-200x300

In South Carolina, it is possible to receive compensation for permanent scars. Under our laws, a Commissioner may award an injured worker up to 50 weeks of compensation for serious scars or disfigurement that is located on the head, neck, or other body part that is normally exposed during employment. For example only, if a worker’s compensation rate is $300.00 per week and a Commissioner finds that he or she is entitled to full disfigurement benefits, that worker’s disfigurement benefit would total $15,000.00. (For questions regarding how a compensation rate is determined please ready my prior blog post:  https://www.injurylaw-carolinas.com/2015/02/injured-cant-work-much-receive-week-work-benefits.html).

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Workplace injuries can be devastating for anyone, regardless of gender. But a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that while women have historically received fewer workplace injuries than men, the types of on-the-job injuries can be quite different for females.

stockfresh_4489991_work-accident_sizeS-300x208According to the recently released data, men accounted for 4,836 workplace fatalities in 2015. By contrast, 344 women died on the job during the same period. The leading cause of job-related deaths for both genders is the same – transportation accidents that occur by road, air, water or railway.

Then the numbers begin to diverge, where the second most common cause of workplace deaths death for women is by violence and other injuries by persons or animals. By contrast, the second leading cause for men are caused by slip, trip, and fall mishaps.

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When you have been in a car wreck or any other type of accident, everything that happens after can be confusing or scary.  One of the questions we regularly ask potential clients is what type of diagnostic tests they have had.  A lot of times people are not sure which tests they have had, and if they do know which tests, they might not know the reasons for the tests.stockfresh_92580_doctor-with-patient-having-a-computerized-axial-tomography-cat_sizeS-300x200

Three Tests That Might Be Ordered For You

There are three typical tests that people have when they are hurt.  The first test almost any emergency room will run is an X-ray. X-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation or electromagnetic waves.  While used in many ways in the medical field, including treatment of cancer, the most common way is for taking pictures of bones to look for fractures. The radiation produced can penetrate soft tissue, such as skin, fat, and muscle but does not penetrate bone, resulting in shadowy black and white photos of those bones.  While radiation can help cure cancer, it is also classified as a carcinogen itself, but it is widely accepted in the medical community that the benefits of x-rays far out weight the risks. X-rays would be best used to diagnose broken bones suffered in an accident.

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In 2013, South Carolina adopted new mediation regulations for South Carolina workers’ compensation cases. Before 2013, mediations would occur in cases only if both the Claimant (Injured Worker) and the Defendants (Employer/ Insurance Carrier) agree to mediate the claim. stockfresh_6813342_mediation-word-in-wood-type_sizeS-300x200With these regulations, it is important for the injured worker to have some idea of what kinds of cases are required to be mediated, what the mediation process is and what it is not, and who the people are involved in the mediation.

Do All Workers Comp Cases Go Through Mediation?

First, only some South Carolina Workers’ Compensation cases are required to mediation. The most common type of case that must be mediated is when I am arguing that my client is permanently and totally disabled as a result of his or her injury. Other cases including occupational disease cases, contested death claims, and cases involving the reduction of a third-party lien must also be mediated. Additionally, it is possible that my client’s claim is mediated because I feel, and my opposing counsel agrees, that a voluntary mediation would be beneficial. This typically involves complex types of cases.

Your employer’s financial trouble could increase your risk of suffering physical harm. That is the finding of a groundbreaking new study that was conducted by Dr. Malcolm Wardlaw of the University of Texas at Dallas.

stockfresh_7472329_work-accident-first-aid-training_sizeS-300x200Dr. Wardlaw has found that there is a statistically significant correlation between an employer’s financial health and the actual health of the firm’s employees. Using years of comprehensive workplace injury data that was provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dr. Wardlaw found that financially distressed employers see more workplace accidents and injuries.

The results of this study are both alarming and unacceptable. We cannot let worker safety become the victim of a business’ financial problems. Worker safety must always come before cost-cutting.

stockfresh_6098362_worker-lying-on-the-floor-in-warehouse_sizeS-300x200Our South Carolina workers compensation attorneys at Grimes Teich Anderson often get calls from individuals asking about Maximum Medical Improvement, and the impact it has on their case.  Maximum Medical Improvement (or MMI) is a commonly use phrase in workers’ compensation cases in South Carolina. What does it mean when your doctor says you have reached MMI? How does this affect your workers’ compensation case?

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stockfresh_5975459_doctor-holding-brain-mri_sizeS-300x200Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), concussions and other head injuries can have devastating long-term consequences. All employers must take proper precautions in order to protect workers from suffering a TBI. Construction workers, in particular, are at high risk.

Unfortunately, far too many construction companies are still falling short of their legal duty to protect the safety of their workers. If you have suffered a construction TBI in Western North Carolina or Upstate South Carolina, please contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP today to discuss your legal options.

Traumatic Brain Injuries on Construction Sites

TBIs on construction sites are a major problem. Recently, researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released a report exploring the frequency of traumatic brain injuries in the construction field. The study was included in the March 2016 edition of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

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stockfresh_4512872_penalty_sizeS-300x212Companies in the North Carolina are facing stiff penalties if they fail to purchase required workers’ compensation insurance to pay for their employees’ workplace injuries and occupational illnesses, according to a recent report by the Raleigh News & Observer.

In the past year, more than 100 employers across the state have been charged with crimes for failing to carry the legally required workers’ compensation insurance, and more than $1 million in fines have been levied against uninsured employers, according to the article. Continue Reading

stockfresh_423047_devastated_sizeS-300x225The loss of a loved one is one of the most traumatic and psychologically stressful events that a human being can endure. The stress and pain are only magnified when a loved one’s death is sudden, unexpected and caused by the negligent or reckless actions of another person. This can leave the surviving family members devastated. Not only must they say goodbye to their loved one and process their feelings of grief and anger, they are also left worrying about the costs associated with the funeral and carrying on without their loved one’s contributions.

While a North Carolina or South Carolina wrongful death lawsuit cannot undo a tragic and untimely death, these lawsuits can provide surviving family members with much-needed financial compensation to address the expenses and losses they must endure because of someone else’s wrongdoing.

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