North Carolina Court of Appeals Retains Pre-Reform Definition of Suitable Employment

Suitable employment is an issue frequently litigated in workers’ compensation claims in North Carolina. Typically, a job is offered and the claimant refuses the job on the basis that it is allegedly unsuitable. For decades, this issue has troubled employers because claimants could, with seeming impunity, refuse legitimate work and continue to collect temporary total disability. Prior to 2011, North Carolina case law dictated that post-maximum medical improvement (MMI) employment
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A Quick Guide on How to Navigate Claims That Occur Outside of North Carolina

Whether the North Carolina Industrial Commission has jurisdiction to adjudicate a workers’ compensation claim can be critical to a claim’s defense. A scenario where this issue commonly arises is when an employee is injured outside of the state of North Carolina, yet chooses to file a North Carolina claim. N.C. Gen. Stat. Section 97-36 is the statute governing the North Carolina Industrial Commission’s jurisdiction over claims arising from accidents occurring
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Using Labor Market Surveys to Rebut Disability

An issue that is frequently encountered in workers’ compensation claims is whether a claimant can prove disability — i.e., whether the claimant can show that they are incapable of earning their pre-injury wages at the same or any other employment as a result of their work-related injury. One tool that employers can use to rebut evidence of disability is a labor market survey prepared by a vocational rehabilitation expert. To
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Garrett v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

In a recent case, Garrett v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (Garrett II), the North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed the Industrial Commission’s determination that a claimant was not disabled due to her failure to engage in a reasonable job search. This case was before the North Carolina Court of Appeals a second time. In its first hearing on the matter, the Industrial Commission concluded the claimant’s neck injury was
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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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