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N.C. Court of Appeals Overturns Lower Court Order Barring Woman from Seeking Damages for Accident that Killed Her Son

Law5_07312014A Cleveland County woman brought suit against the county after her son was killed in an accident at the Self-McNeilly Solid Waste Management Facility. A lower court ruled that the woman could not pursue damages for negligence since she had already received workers' compensation benefits, but the N.C. Court of Appeals overturned that ruling, saying that the county was not protected by workers' compensation law since the man who died was not an employee of the county, but was a temporary worker covered by another company's workers' compensation insurance.

The plaintiff's son was 24 years old at the time of his death and lived with his mother. He was an employee of WorkForce Staffing, a temporary employment agency that contracted him out to work at the county landfill as a "spotter," helping to guide dump trucks and other vehicles through the landfill. In February 2010, the man was spotting a trash compactor with a "backup camera" that did not have adequate visibility. The driver unknowingly ran over the plaintiff's son and pushed him into a pile of trash.

Another driver spotted the man in the pile later and called for help. The man died at the hospital later that day.

The plaintiff collected workers' compensation benefits from WorkForce Staffing. However, the lower court ruled that she could not also collect damages from the county or the driver because her claims were already covered by the Workers' Compensation Act.

The N.C. Court of Appeals ruled that the plaintiff's son was not an employee or a special employee of the county since the county made explicitly clear in its contract with WorkForce Staffing that he was not to be considered an employee of the county. Therefore, the court ruled, the county was not protected by the Workers' Compensation Act against claims for negligence.

The ruling does not award the plaintiff damages. It only reverses the lower court ruling dismissing her case in pursuit of damages.

Raleigh News & Observer Reports that Advocates are Pushing N.C. Lawmakers to Create a Safety Net for Injured Workers

Raleigh_07032014Last April, the News & Observer reported that 30,000 or more employers do not carry the workers' compensation insurance required under North Carolina law, leaving thousands of workers vulnerable if they were to become injured on the job. The paper reports that advocates are now pushing North Carolina lawmakers to create a program that would provide a safety net for workers who are injured on the job and are unable to collect compensation from their employers.

The program would help workers who can't collect benefits because their employers did not have workers' compensation insurance and who then went out of business or just plain refused to pay the benefits. Some workers can fight their employer for years trying to get the benefits that the courts have ruled they deserve, only to have to rely on government programs such as Medicaid or food stamps in order to get the support they need.

The N&O reported that at least half of the states in the country have programs that offer compensation to workers who are hurt while working for companies that do not carry the required insurance. South Carolina has one such program, and it brings in about $18 million a year through a fee assessed on workers' compensation policies.

Advocates also suggest better enforcement of existing rules, including penalties for those who don't carry the insurance.

North Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyers

If you have been injured on the job and your employer does not have the required workers' compensation insurance, the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin may be able to help you fight to get the benefits you may deserve for your injuries. Call 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case and to find out how one of our North Carolina workers' compensation lawyers attorneys may be able to help you.

Does Workers' Compensation Cover Long-Term Health Conditions?

Medical6_07232014Many people know that workers' compensation benefits provide for injuries that you sustain while on the job, but many are not clear about what workers' compensation law provides for long-term health problems believed to be caused by the job.

As North Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyer Barry Jennings explains, North Carolina workers' compensation law does provide coverage for people who suffered a long-term health condition as a result of their work. This condition can be caused by an injury that resulted from the job, or it can be the result of exposure to harmful chemicals or conditions on the job. Some examples may include coal workers who developed the condition known as Black Lung Disease or industrial workers who developed the deadly cancer mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos.

As Jennings explains, the law determining whether a person is entitled to workers' compensation benefits for a health condition believed to be caused by working is fairly complex. Essentially, you must show that your work caused the specific condition and that it placed you at a higher risk for that condition than the general population. For example, Black Lung Disease is generally caused by exposure to coal dust, so workers in coal mines are at higher risk of developing Black Lung Disease. Coal workers who developed this illness would likely be entitled to workers' compensation benefits in North Carolina.

Other examples could include injury brought on by repetitive and stressful movement at work.

North Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyers

A North Carolina workers' compensation lawyer at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin may be able to review the details of your case and give you advice about what your legal rights are and what compensation you may be able to receive for your injuries. If you feel you suffered a long-term health condition because of conditions at your work, call us today at 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case.

Does Workers' Compensation only Cover Medical Bills?

Workers' compensation insurance may protect you if you are injured on the job, and as such, it may provide for much more than just your medical expenses.
As North Carolina Workers' Compensation Attorney Barry Jennings explains, North Carolina workers' compensation law provides for the payment of medical expenses and lost wages for those who qualify. Depending on the extent of your injury and how the injury occurred, you may be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits to cover your medical treatment, as well as the time you missed from work.

Injury6_07182014If you suffer a permanent injury, or your injury is severe enough that you will no longer be able to earn the same wages you did before, you may be entitled to additional benefits under workers' compensation law.

The compensation you receive may be paid out by your employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier or by your employer.

North Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyers

A qualified North Carolina workers' compensation lawyer can review the details of your case and advise you about what kind of benefits you may be entitled to under the law. If you have been injured on the job, call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case. One of our North Carolina workers' compensation lawyers may be able to help you get the benefits you may deserve for your injuries!

Under What Circumstances is a Person Eligible for Workers' Compensation in North Carolina?

Injury7_07182014Workers' compensation insurance protects workers in North Carolina in the event that they are injured on the job. However, employees must meet eligibility criteria in order to collect those benefits.

There are three types of situations in which employees can become eligible for workers' compensation benefits in North Carolina:

Workplace Accident

Accidents happen. When they happen on the job, your employer's workers' compensation insurance may cover you for injuries and other losses. Some examples may include a construction worker who falls off a ladder, or a delivery driver who is in a car accident. Accidents may occur in professions that don't seem prone to such dangers, as well. For example, a secretary may be burned by office equipment.

If the accident occurs on the job, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits in North Carolina.

Workplace Injury

Sometimes employees become inured just doing their jobs -- not as a result of having an accident. Some examples may include neck or back strain from repeated performance of the same task, or even joint strain such as in the shoulders, knees, or wrists.

Workplace Illness

Workers' compensation benefits may also be available if you become seriously ill as a result of your work. Examples may include exposure to toxic chemicals that contribute to the development of cancer, such as workers who were exposed to asbestos and later developed mesothelioma.

North Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyer

There are many factors that can contribute to whether or not you receive workers' compensation benefits and to how much compensation you receive. A North Carolina workers' compensation lawyer can help you understand the law and how it applies to you.

If you have been injured on the job, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case to find out if one of our North Carolina workers' compensation lawyers may be able to help you!

N.C. Court of Appeals Upholds Ruling in Favor of Woman Who Fell During Lunch Break

The North Carolina Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by the North Carolina Industrial Commission awarding workers' compensation benefits to a woman who fell while walking on her lunch break.

The woman, who worked for Verizon Wireless, took an hour-long unpaid lunch break and went for a walk through the hallways of the first floor of her building for exercise. Near the end of her break, she slipped and fell on some ice near an ice machine. The fall caused her to land on her knee, and doctors say it aggravated arthritis in her knee caused by a previous knee injury.

Medical31_07232014The woman was awarded medical compensation, indemnity benefits and attorney's fees. However, her employer appealed the award on the grounds that her injury did not "arise out of" and "in the course of" her employment, and that her fall aggravated her previous injury.

The N.C. Court of Appeals found that even though the woman was on her lunch break when the fall occurred, the work injury "arose out of" her employment because she was in a building that was not open to the public and was, therefore, only accessible to her because of her employment. The court also found that her work injury arose "in the course of" her employment since this definition "includes times during the workday for rest and refreshment" and since "'[a]n employee tending to her personal needs is indirectly benefiting the employer[,]' and 'it was in [d]efendant-[e]mployer's interest that [p]laintiff be rested and refreshed so she could provide pleasant and effective customer service, and the activity in which [p]laintiff was engaging when she fell thus indirectly benefited [d]efendant-[e]mployer."

The court also upheld the judgment of the N.C. Industrial Commission regarding the evidence and witness testimony that the fall "materially aggravated" the woman's previous injury.

The full judgment of the N.C. Industrial Commission was upheld, including the full award granted the woman for her on-the-job injuries.

Will Filing for Workers' Compensation Hurt My Employer?

If you have worked for a company for a number of years, it may start to feel like your home away from home. You may have become good friends with your co-workers and become invested in the long-term success of the company, feeling like it is yours in some small way.

WorkersComp18_07022014When you start to feel this way about your company and your co-workers, you want to do everything you can to contribute to its success. If you become injured on the job, you may feel hesitant to file for workers' compensation benefits because you don't want to hurt the company.

However, as Workers' Compensation Lawyer Barry Jennings explains, it is the law in North Carolina that businesses with more than three employees carry workers' compensation insurance or be self-insured for workers' compensation benefits. That means that if a worker is injured and qualifies for benefits, the insurance carrier or self-insured employer will pay the claim.

Just like auto insurance protects you against losses in an accident, workers' compensation insurance protects businesses against losses if one of their workers gets hurt. And just like auto insurance, you shouldn't think twice about using these benefits if you have been injured: That's the reason they exist.

If you are hurt on the job, you could be out thousands of dollars for medical expenses and lost time from work. It's only right that you should be compensated for these losses, and the law is there to protect you.

North Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyers

Barry Jennings is a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Workers' Compensation Law. If you have been injured on the job or denied workers' compensation benefits, call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin right now at 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case and to find out if he or another one of our North Carolina workers' compensation lawyers may be able to help you get the benefits you may deserve.

N.C. Department of Transportation Worker Killed in Construction Accident on N.C. 12 in Outer Banks

A Hertford man who was helping with cleanup after Hurricane Sandy was killed in an accident on N.C. 12 on Sunday.

WorkersComp13_06162014The man, who had worked for the N.C. Department of Transportation for 15 years, was driving a dump truck while cleaning up tons of sand covering the highway south or Oregon Inlet in the Outer Bank after Hurricane Sandy. The road has been closed for two weeks while crews try to clean up the sand and debris.

The accident involved another dump truck driver, but no other details were released about the cause of the accident.

Traffic was reopened on the road a day earlier from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. The accident happened after traffic was closed again for the day - sometime between 1 a.m. and 1:45 a.m.

Sand is still deep on the highway along Pea Island, and stretches of pavement north of Rodanthe on Hatteras Island have to be repaired. N.C. DOT officials say that it will take several more weeks to finish repaired storm damage along the road and on the Oregon Inlet bridge.

North Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyers

The accident highlights the importance of workers' compensation benefits to protect workers and their families after an injury or death on the job. If you or someone you love were injured on the job, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case and to find out if one of our North Carolina workers' compensation lawyers may be able to help you!

Workers and Firefighters Injured in Three Fires around the Triangle

Three separate fires around the Triangle last week left firefighters and hospital workers injured.

The first broke out early Tuesday at Durham Regional Hospital and may have started from use of a defibrillator. Although the fire was initially reported as an explosion, according to WRAL.com, the preliminary findings by the State Department of Health and Human Services concluded that a spark from a defibrillator ignited the fire.

FireAlarm2_07022014Four employees were treated for smoke inhalation, and one critically ill patient died.

The second fire broke out on Thursday in an abandoned house in Johnston County. The roof collapsed on a firefighter who was battling the fire at the house that had been vacant or a couple of years.

The firefighter was kept overnight for observation, and the cause of the fire was not known.

Finally, the third fire in The Lakes Apartments in Raleigh on Friday night was believed to have started in a bedroom. About 50 people living in 10 apartments were displaced by the fire.

One person was treated for smoke inhalation, and two firefighters were treated on the scene for minor injuries. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

North Carolina Workers' Compensation

The firefighters and other workers affected by these fires could have faced serious injury as a result of just doing their jobs. If you were injured on the job, you could be entitled to compensation under the law. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation and to find out if one of our North Carolina Workers' Compensation lawyers may be able to help you.

What If I Was at Fault for an Injury I Sustained on the Job? Am I Still Eligible for Workers' Compensation Benefits?

HouseConstruction_07312014According to Attorney Barry Jennings, a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Workers' Compensation Law, it does not matter if an injury you sustained while working on the job was your fault because, in North Carolina, workers' compensation claims do not consider negligence when determining benefits.

The workers' compensation system in North Carolina is considered "no fault," and you may still be entitled to workers' compensation benefits even if you contributed to the accident. The major exception to this rule is if you are intoxicated at the time of the accident.

Other factors could reduce the amount of workers' compensation you are awarded, such as willful disobeying of a safety rule.

No matter how you were injured on the job, it is important to notify your employer and to seek medical care immediately. Even if it was a minor injury, it is still a good idea to see a doctor to have your injuries evaluated. Some major injuries may not seem severe at first, and delaying treatment can make recovery more difficult.

It is also important to consult with a workers' compensation attorney if you have been injured on the job. Every case is different, and an experienced North Carolina workers' compensation attorney can advise you on your legal rights if you have been injured on the job and may be able to help you get the full benefits that you may deserve under the law.

If you have been injured on the job, call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 right now for a free evaluation of your case and to find out how one of our North Carolina workers' compensation lawyers may be able to help you.

Contact Information

Raleigh Law Office

4325 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27607
Phone: 919-834-1184
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Durham Law Office

280 South Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-688-4991
Fax: 800-716-7881

Fayetteville Law Office

517 Owen Drive
Fayetteville, NC 28304
Phone: 910-488-0611
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Charlotte Law Office

1001 Morehead Square Drive, Suite 350
Charlotte, NC 28203
Phone: 704-599-1078
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

New Bern Law Office

1505 South Glenburnie Rd, Unit P
New Bern, NC 28562
Phone: 252-634-9010
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3422

Greenville Law Office

702 G Cromwell Dr.
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-355-5205
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3227

Greensboro Law Office

300 N. Greene Street, Suite 850
Greensboro, North Carolina 27401
Phone: 336-665-7072
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Goldsboro Law Office

214 South William Street, Suite 3
Goldsboro, NC 27530
Phone: (919)-731-2581
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Henderson Law Office

514 Dabney Drive, Suite 200
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-492-4600
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Roanoke Rapids Law Office

709 Julian R. Allsbrook Highway
Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870
Phone: 252-537-9670
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Rocky Mount Law Office

3202 Sunset Avenue, Suite B
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Phone: 252-937-4730
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Sanford Law Office

703-B South Horner Boulevard
Sanford, NC 27330
Phone: 919-775-1564
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Wilson Law Office

2315 Airport Blvd Suite A
Wilson, North Carolina 27896
Phone: 252-246-9090
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Winston-Salem Law Office

301 N. Main Street, Suite 2409-C
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078