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WORKERS' COMPENSATION

THE RIGHT ATTORNEY MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE

Workers' Comp is a state law, and each state has its own Workers' Comp Act. While the Acts are somewhat similar, there are some significant substantive differences among the states. While we represent immigration clients from any state (primarily from North and South Carolina), our workers' comp practice is limited to North Carolina. 

 

In North Carolina, an individual may file a claim with the Industrial Commission pursuant to the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act, if they have an on-the-job injury. This law was passed as a compromise between employers and employees on how to compensate injured workers' on-the-job injuries. Employers gave up the right to claim that an employee contributed to the accident thereby barring his or her right of any recovery. The employee, among many things, gave up the right to recover pain and suffering in most but not all cases.

 

North Carolina Worker's' Comp law is dated and has some provisions that are hard to reconcile. For instance, under North Carolina Workers' Comp Act, only an injury by accident is compensable (back injuries are treated differently), meaning injuries that are sustained while performing employee's regular duties (even strenuous ones) in a customary manner are not compensable. Moreover, employees have to follow strict reporting requirements. Lastly, every injured worker must prove that their injury is causally related to employment, which more often than not requires an expert opinion.

Occupational disease claims are different than occupational injury claims that occur when a worker accidentally falls, trips, slips, or has unexpected accident on the job site.  With occupational disease claims, workers develop diseases related to single or repeated exposures to dangerous substances or work circumstances.  Most commonly our firm handles complex workers’ compensation disease claims resulting from exposures to dangerous substances, such as:

  • exposure to asbestos associated with the development of respiratory distress, asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma
    (Please see Practice Area entitled “Asbestosis and Mesothelioma” for more information regarding asbestos-related diseases)

  • exposure to silica associated with the development of silicosis

  • exposure to benzene associated with the development of certain types of blood cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma

  • exposure to coal tar pitch associated with the development of lung, skin (non-melanoma), bladder, and kidney cancers

  • exposure to mold associated with the development of respiratory diseases, such as asthma, and hypersensitivity

  • exposure to carbon monoxide associated with the development of Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases

  • exposure to other dangerous chemicals, solvents, poisons, dusts, and substances associated with the development of diseases, conditions, and cancers, including lung, blood, bladder, kidney, or skin.

Besides exposure-related disease, our firm also handles disease claims such as

  • carpal tunnel syndrome

  • cubital tunnel syndrome

  • tenosynovitis

  • epicondylitis

  • synovitis

  • bursitis

  • welder’s diseases, and

  • many other diseases which are a result of specific jobs, job tasks, or industries that increase your risk, greater than that of the general public, for the development of repetitive diseases and conditions.

In light of COVID pandemic, many states passed additional provisions that created a presumption for COVID, meaning if you test positive for COVID while employed full time, your sickness will be presumed to be causally related to your employment. If following your recovery, you are still experiencing post-COVID complications that prevent you from resuming your regular job duties, you may be entitled to workers' comp benefits for up to 500 weeks. In addition, extended benefits beyond the 500-week cap exist for rare circumstances when an injured worker is permanently disabled.

 

As you know, COVID caused many deaths all over the globe. If your spouse or a parent passes away due to COVID, you could be entitled to death benefits (500 weeks of benefits plus burial expenses) as an immediate relative or dependent of a deceased worker. Contact us today to learn more!

Website Disclaimer: the information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any matter.