Law Articles

Mar. 14 2016

South Carolina’s 1,000 Year Flood: Will the state’s water worries extend to insurers?

Total economic losses from October’s historic flooding in South Carolina are expected to top $2 billion. According to Aon Benfield Group Ltd., insurers preliminarily reported roughly $350 million in commercial and residential property claims, and federally insured flood and crop insurance claims are expected to crest at $150 million. With the incredible amount of damage sustained in the state and the already mounting number of claims, the atmosphere is ripe for coverage-related causation disputes and litigation involving dam failures as residents and businesses scramble to fund their recoveries. (more…)

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Jun. 25 2015

Clarifying the Necessity of Expert Testimony to Prove Ongoing Disability

On April 21, 2015, the North Carolina Court of Appeals made clear that a claimant must provide expert testimony to prove that there is no job for him based on his age, experience and education, even though he is otherwise capable of some work.  See Fields v. H&E Equip. Servs., L.L.C., No. COA14-1094, at *8 (N.C. Ct. App. Apr. 21, 2015). This case is important because it clarifies that a claimant’s subjective assertion regarding the futility of his job search is not enough to prove ongoing disability under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. (more…)

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Jun. 4 2015

The Compensability of Unexplained Falls in the Workplace

Earlier this year, the South Carolina Supreme Court (SCSC) clarified its position regarding the compensability of unexplained falls. Both inNicholson v. South Carolina Department of Social Services and Barnes v. Charter 1 Realty, a claimant tripped and fell on a carpeted hallway at work. Specifically, the SCSC clarified its position regarding what qualifies as an idiopathic fall and whether an unexplained fall is compensable. While the definition of “idiopathic” could include the word “unexplained,” the two words are distinct when determining whether an injury is compensable under the Act. (more…)

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Apr. 27 2015

Preventing Double Recovery For Multiple Injuries

For claimants who have multiple workers’ compensation claims, the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act prevents concurrent receipt of disability benefits. North Carolina Gen. Stat. § 97-34 prevents double recovery where a claimant is disabled by two injuries in the same employment.  (more…)

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Apr. 20 2015

Preventing Double Recovery For Multiple Injuries

For claimants who have multiple workers’ compensation claims, the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act prevents concurrent receipt of disability benefits. North Carolina Gen. Stat. § 97-34 prevents double recovery where a claimant is disabled by two injuries in the same employment.  (more…)

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Apr. 10 2015

Injuries During Employer-Sponsored Recreational Activities: Are They Compensable?

In a financial climate where companies are not handing out raises and bonuses of all sorts are nearly obsolete, employers are trying to find ways to boost the morale of employees in inexpensive ways. One way to do that is by providing an outlet for recreational activities, such as softball games, skating nights, picnics and barbeques. In South Carolina, employers and carriers are relatively free of workers’ compensation liability for recreational activities if they comply with three guidelines: (1) the activity takes place off the employer’s premises; (2) the employee’s participation in the activity is voluntary; and (3) the employer does not derive a substantial benefit from the activity other than improvement in morale and employee health. Recently, in a case that made national news, the South Carolina Supreme Court clarified the voluntary attendance requirement of recreational activities and found that an employee, who suffered an injury while playing kickball, sustained a compensable injury under the Workers’ Compensation Act. (more…)

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Mar. 27 2015

Illegal Aliens and North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Benefits

President Barack Obama’s recent Executive Action on immigration has stirred quite the political controversy. This recent debate brings to mind a question more employers and carriers are asking: Are illegal aliens entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, and if so, how does their immigration status impact return-to-work issues and termination of benefits? (more…)

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Feb. 28 2015

Suspension of Benefits for Failure to Comply: Maintaining Control of Medical Treatment under S.C. Code Ann. Section 42-15-60 and 42-15-80.

In South Carolina workers’ compensation practice, it is common knowledge that the Employer and the Carrier control medical treatment. But what happens if a claimant is being non-compliant with the treating physicians? What happens if the claimant is missing scheduled appointments? A complete understanding of S.C. Code Ann. Sections 42-15-60 and 42-15-80 will assist in maintaining control over the medical treatment in a claim. (more…)

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Jan. 21 2015

What Really Happens in Workers’ Compensation Mediation

In May of 2013, the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission approved new Mediation Regulations (67-1801 through 67-1809), which provide that certain types of cases must be mediated, as well as a regulation (67-1801) that allows a Commissioner to order mediation in any claim. Because such a large number of cases will go to mediation moving forward, it is helpful to establish good practices in order to achieve the most favorable outcome and bring files to resolution more quickly. (more…)

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Dec. 3 2014

NC Workers’ Comp: Health Conscious Employees and the Personal Comfort Doctrine

As people become more and more health conscious, they are taking advantage of down time at work to sneak in a what exercise they can. But what happens when one of these health conscious employees suffers an injury during their break time exercise routine? The North Carolina Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion on a case in which an employee injured her knee while walking around her office building during her required lunch break. (more…)

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Nov. 26 2014

Liability for Temporary Disability Benefits to Employee Terminated for Cause

Providing temporary disability benefits during the course of an injured worker’s recovery is a rather straightforward process. Simply stated, if the injured worker is provided work restrictions by his physician and the employer is unable to accommodate those restrictions then temporary disability benefits are owed. If the employer can accommodate the restrictions then no temporary disability benefits are owed, provided he is earning the same as his pre-injury wages. (more…)

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