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On-the-Job Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation

Posted in Accidents, Personal injury, Workers' Compensation on Thu January 19, 2017



There are many kinds of on-the-job injury that can take you out of work for weeks, or even months. This means you may need to apply for workers’ compensation to provide for yourself and your family. Whether you’ve suffered a fractured ankle while on a jobsite or were injured while driving the company car, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Here’s a general overview of what you need to know about the following on-the-job injuries and how you can receive the compensation you need and deserve.

Work-Related Car and Truck Accidents

If you’re injured in a car accident arising from and in the course and scope of your employment (when you, the employee, are engaged in a work-related task while driving the vehicle), your employer may be liable. They may be legally responsible under respondeat superior, a legal doctrine holding employers accountable for wrongful acts of an employee or agent. If the employee drove the company car on personal business, the doctrine doesn’t apply.

As a general rule, injuries from accidents that occur while you are driving to and from work are exempt from the scope of employment under the going and coming rule. But there are exceptions to this general rule, and you will need to check with your attorney to see where your case fits. For example, injuries from accidents to traveling salespersons who are injured on sales trips, or to employees on a special work errand, or are attending an offsite training seminar, can be covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act. Also, injuries sustained by an employee traveling to and from work in employment-provided transportation, or on employer-owned or controlled parking lots can be covered, too. Your attorney will have to examine the facts to give you an opinion.

Personal Injury: Ankle & Foot

Twisting your ankle during a slip and fall accident may seem minor at first, but it could worsen with time. This injury can also have longer lasting effects, where you can’t perform at your regular work levels for long periods of time. The injury may also alter how you move, causing you to walk differently in an effort to alleviate the pain. If you begin to favor one foot over the other, you may experience more joint injuries that were not part of your original accident, including to your knee or shoulder.

The types of injuries you may experience with your ankle or foot are fractures, sprains or strains. Bones and ligaments are attached to the ankle, as well as muscles. During an injury, these bones can fracture, the ligaments can be sprained or even torn, and muscles and tendons can pull too far, causing injury.

The two major determinant factors in this kind of workers’ compensation case are how bad the work-related injury is and its expected duration. There may be short and long term ramifications, so it’s important to talk with an attorney about your options.

Personal Injury: Chronic Pain Syndrome and Depression

While many injuries are physical ones, what about the sustained injuries you can’t see on the surface?

If you’ve suffered a physical injury and are facing chronic pain every day, this may lead to depression. There may be no visible signs of depression like a fractured ankle or a neck sprain, but you can develop depression from long-term chronic pain syndrome, where chronic pain and secondary complications worsen the original pain. This syndrome usually starts from the acute injury or illness experienced on the job. If it lasts six months, it’s considered chronic pain.

Evaluating an On-the-Job Injury in North Carolina

The N.C. Industrial Commission Rating Guide lists the percentage of impairment to body parts after a work-related injury. Doctors in North Carolina can use this information as a guide in rating industrial accidents, creating impairment evaluations. The guide makes a distinction between evaluation of permanent disability and permanent physical impairment based on The Disability Committee of the American Medical Association. The evaluation of a workplace injury can be in two parts: The medical evaluation of a possible permanent, physical impairment and rating a disability per administrative bodies. The details of these steps are best discussed with an attorney.

The Next Step If You’ve Experienced These Personal Injuries or Other Work-Related Injuries

If you’ve experienced these on-the-job injuries and want to begin the process of receiving workers’ compensation benefits, you’ll first need to file a Form 18 with the Industrial Commission and copy your employer. This starts the claim. Before pursuing a case, learn more about your legal options after you’ve experienced a work-related injury by contacting Bill Acton at DeVore Acton & Stafford, P.A.

Sources:

Lexology – Going and Coming Rule:

http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=330adb89-a5bd-46af-8b33-a7d8a6aef017

Respondeat Superior:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/respondeat_superior

Understanding Chronic Pain:

http://www.instituteforchronicpain.org/understanding-chronic-pain/what-is-chronic-pain/chronic-pain-syndrome

NC Industrial Commission – Rating Guide:

http://www.ic.nc.gov/ncic/pages/ratinggd.htm

NC Industrial Commission:

http://www.ic.nc.gov/faqs.html

Accident Law:

http://accident-law.freeadvice.com/accident-law/auto/company-car-accident-who-pays.htm

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