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Tag Archives: Industrial Commission

Workers’ Compensation – Total Disability & Scheduled Benefits – Work-Related Psychological Injury – Extent of Disability (access required)

Stevens v. United States Cold Storage, Inc. The Industrial Commission concluded that plaintiff is totally disabled because of his scheduled physical disabilities and his work-related psychological disabilities; however, the Commission failed to explain whether plaintiff’s psychological disabilities alone are totally disabling.

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Workers’ Compensation – Compensable Injury — Subsequent Injury — Relation Back — Medical Certainty (access required)

Chaffins v. Tar Heel Capital Corp. At issue in this workers’ compensation action is whether the plaintiff’s injuries to her shoulder and neck are the compensable result of a fall that occurred while she was getting into her car on Oct. 7, 2010 and are the “direct and natural result” of her admittedly compensable employment-related injury suffered on Aug. 1, 2002.

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Workers’ Compensation – Insurance – Expiration – No ‘Refusal to Renew’ – First Impression (access required)

Zaldana v. Smith Since the defendant-employer’s one-year workers’ compensation policy did not address renewal, and since the employer never asked the defendant-carrier to renew the policy, the carrier did not “refuse to renew” the policy, so the carrier was not required to follow statutory or policy procedures that apply when there is a refusal to renew.

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Workers’ Compensation – Voluntary Dismissal – Untimely Re-Filing – No Excusable Neglect (access required)

Nieto-Espinoza v. Lowder Construction, Inc. After plaintiff voluntarily dismissed his workers’ compensation claim without prejudice, a paralegal at plaintiff’s counsel’s firm mistakenly noted the dismissal order date. When plaintiff’s counsel failed to re-file within one year, the Industrial Commission properly concluded that this failure was not the result of excusable neglect.

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Workers’ Compensation – Change of Condition – Insufficient Showing – Doctor’s Testimony (access required)

Wilhite v. Pike Electric, Inc. Although plaintiff’s doctor agreed with plaintiff’s counsel’s assertion that plaintiff was “100 percent” disabled, the doctor’s opinion on this point was not based solely upon plaintiff’s medical condition – which the doctor said was unchanged – or on the doctor’s medical expertise; rather, the doctor agreed with counsel’s assessment based on the doctor’s consideration of plaintiff’s “skill set and educational background.”

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Workers’ Compensation – Uninsured Employer – Settlement Agreement – Disapproval – Piercing the Corporate Veil – Attorney’s Fees (access required)

Allred v. Exceptional Landscapes, Inc. Even though G.S. § 97-94(b) appears to give an employee of an uninsured employer the option of suing under the Workers’ Compensation Act or “at law,” and even though the parties believed they were settling the employee’s claim “at law,” since the employee had already filed a claim with the Industrial Commission, the Commission had jurisdiction to approve or disapprove the settlement agreement.

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Workers’ Compensation Medical Testimony – Back Surgery Recommendation – Causation – Depression (access required)

Moore v. Bell Senior Living The Industrial Commission gave several reasons, in addition to a defense witness’s possible reliance on an MSNBC.com article, for giving more weight to the opinion of plaintiff’s witness. We affirm the Commission’s award of benefits, including back surgery. Defense witness Dr. Lacin’s testimony can be read as indicating that he read about a spine study on MSNBC.com rather than going back to the source article in a professional journal. In addition, the Commission pointed to plaintiff’s witness Dr. Voos' significant history of treating plaintiff as compared to Dr. Lacin's single examination, as well as the bases for Dr. Lacin's opinion, which not only included the MSNBC.com article, but also Dr. Lacin's belief -- inconsistent with the Commission's findings of fact -- that there were no significant clinical findings in plaintiff's case. The Commission noted Dr. Lacin's incomplete review of plaintiff's medical records.

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