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Home / Courts / N.C. Court of Appeals Unpublished / Workers’ Compensation – Acute Injury – Usual Job – Degenerative Condition – Occupational Disease – Legal Standard

Workers’ Compensation – Acute Injury – Usual Job – Degenerative Condition – Occupational Disease – Legal Standard

Although plaintiff suffered a biceps tear at work while performing a task that was not included in his written job description, since that task – separating 40- to 50-pound sheets of rubber that had gotten stuck together – formed a significant portion of his actual work, the biceps tear was not an accidental injury under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

While there was evidence that the bone spurs in plaintiff’s shoulder resulted from the repetitive motions of his job, the Industrial Commission applied the wrong legal standard in determining that plaintiff suffered from an occupational disease. The Commission applied a “but for” standard; the correct test is whether the occupational exposure was such a significant factor in the disease’s development that without it the disease would not have developed to such an extent that it caused the physical disability which resulted in plaintiff’s incapacity for work. 

We affirm the Commission’s denial of plaintiff’s claim as it relates to his biceps tear. We vacate the Commission’s finding of an occupational disease and remand for application of the correct legal standard.

Spencer v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (Lawyers Weekly No. 012-234-22, 17 pp.) (Toby Hampson, J.) Appealed from the Industrial Commission. Michael Bertics and Neal Camak for plaintiff; Duane Jones and Matthew Ledwith for defendant. 2022-NCCOA-366 


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