North Carolina Court of Appeals Affirms Industrial Commission’s Denial of Bellwether Cases

The North Carolina Court of Appeals recently affirmed the Industrial Commission’s denial of claims, collectively known as the bellwether cases, that constituted a small portion of 144 consolidated workers’ compensation claims. Specifically, Walter Hinson, decedent-employee, worked for Continental Tire the Americas at its factory in Charlotte, North Carolina. The decedent’s estate alleged that his employment exposed him to levels of harmful airborne asbestos sufficient to cause asbestos-related disease. In addition
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Directing Medical Treatment in Compensable Claims in North Carolina

An increasingly litigated issue involves an employer’s right to direct and provide medical treatment. As a reminder, when an employer accepts a claim as compensable, it is the employer’s right to direct medical treatment. This has long been established by North Carolina precedent and statutes, including N.C. Gen. Stat. Section 97-25. Medical treatment, or medical compensation, is broadly defined by N.C. Gen. Stat. Section 97-2(19). Medical compensation includes “medical, surgical,
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North Carolina Court of Appeals Affirms Denial of Workers’ Compensation Claim After a Fatal Accident in a Company Vehicle

Gregory S. Horner and Alexandra S. Kensinger of Goldberg Segalla recently secured victory before the North Carolina Court of Appeals. In Wright v. Alltech Wiring & Controls, an employee died as a result of a motor vehicle accident which occurred while he was traveling home from work in a company vehicle. His estate argued that he was in the course and scope of his employment because he was driving a
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Forum Section Critical in Carolina UIM Benefits Case

A recently published North Carolina Court of Appeals workers’ compensation case highlights an issue for consideration when there is an opportunity to select a forum for workers’ compensation benefits involving a claim where UIM benefits are a potential recovery source for subrogation. In Walker v. K&W Cafeterias, Robert Walker (decedent) was killed in a motor vehicle accident while driving a truck for his employer, K&W Cafeterias, Inc. K&W is a North Carolina
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The Current State of the North Carolina Industrial Commission

Before Governor Cooper was set to take office in 2017, the North Carolina legislature allowed outgoing Governor, Pat McCrory, to appoint Charlton Allen as the chair of the North Carolina Industrial Commission. McCrory also appointed Yolanda Stith as vice-chair of the commission and provided her with a nearly nine-year term. Following McCrory’s appointments, incoming Governor Cooper brought suit against Senate Leader Philip Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, as well
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North Carolina Industrial Commission Uncovers Workers’ Compensation Fraudulent Activity in Craven County, North Carolina

The North Carolina Industrial Commission recently charged a woman with workers’ compensation fraud in Craven County, North Carolina. Ms. Kimberly Ann Sutton has been charged with two counts of workers’ compensation fraud and two counts of obtaining property by false pretense. Fraud investigators found evidence that Ms. Sutton was working at the same time that she was simultaneously receiving workers’ compensation benefits. There was also evidence that she failed to
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North Carolina Court of Appeals Holds Medications Not Approved by FDA can Constitute Medical Compensation

The Court of Appeals of North Carolina recently affirmed an Industrial Commission decision that use of non-FDA approved “compound creams” prescribed by an authorized treating physician was compensable medical treatment to be provided by the employer. In Davis v. Craven County ABC Board, the plaintiff suffered compensable complex regional pain syndrome. He was prescribed a non-FDA approved compound cream and testified that it relieved some of his symptoms. The defendants
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Getting Your Recorded Statement into Evidence Under Rule 608

Most adjusters handling North Carolina workers’ compensation matters take recorded statements as part of their claims investigation. For defense counsel, this is one of the most important documents used to defend denied claims. This post is a reminder of two technical requirements that must be met with regard to all recorded statements. If these requirements are not met, the statement can be excluded from evidence by the Industrial Commission. This
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Proposed Rules Aimed at Addressing Opioid Epidemic and its Impact on North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claims Continue to Progress

As the opioid epidemic continues to sweep the country, the North Carolina Industrial Commission has taken notice. In February 2017, Chairman Charlton Allen established an Opioid Task Force aimed at finding solutions to address the opioid epidemic and the impact on workers’ compensation claims. Late last year, the Industrial Commission published draft rules for public comment on the utilization of opioids and pain management in workers’ compensation claims. On January
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North Carolina Court of Appeals Affirms Full Commission Decision: Injury does not Fall under Pre-Amendment N.C. Gen. Stat. § 97-29

The North Carolina Court of Appeals has recently decided a case where the 2011 amendment of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 97-29 was in dispute. In Brown v. N.C. Dept. of Public Instruction, the plaintiff suffered three injuries in 2002, 2011, and 2012, respectively all to her right shoulder. Here, the plaintiff alleged that her 2012 injury was related to her 2011 injury, which occurred days before § 97-29 was amended
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