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North Carolina Workers' Compensation Law: A Practical Guide to Success at Every Stage of a Claim

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North Carolina Workers' Compensation Law: A Practical Guide to Success at Every Stage of a Claim is a must have reference guide for all North Carolina workers' compensation practitioners. This 21-chapter publication addresses recent changes to the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act and guides practitioners through all stages of a workers' compensation claim.

This workers' compensation manual does not merely recite the statute and case law—it provides in-depth analysis of legal issues and offers practical advice from experienced North Carolina workers' compensation practitioners on a wide range of topics including litigating injury by accident and occupational disease cases, fighting obstacles to appropriate medical compensation, handling death claims and third party actions, defining and proving disability, calculating average weekly wage, and much more.

The Executive Secretary, Deputy Commissioners, a Commissioner, and a Court of Appeals Judge also offer their practical tips for successfully litigating a North Carolina workers' compensation claim at every stage, including advice for filing motions with the Office of the Executive Secretary, representing clients in Form 23 and Form 24 proceedings, filing Expedited Medical Motions, litigating a case at the Deputy Commissioner Level, handling an appeal at the Full Commission level, and handling an appeal at the appellate court level.

Lastly, the 740+ page manual includes fingertip access to more than 10 Industrial Commission Forms and 24 sample motions and orders. This publication is edited by Gina E. Cammarano of Farah & Cammarano, P.A. and Valerie A. Johnson of Copeley Johnson & Groninger, PLLC, both of whom are North Carolina State Bar board certified workers' compensation specialists.

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Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1.  Introduction and Historical Overview

I.  THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

II.  THE DEVELOPMENT OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION

III.  THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION SYSTEM IN THE UNITED STATES

IV.  WORKERS' COMPENSATION ACTS WERE COMPROMISE LEGISLATION



CHAPTER 2.  Industrial Commission Jurisdiction in North Carolina Workers' Compensation Claims

I.  INTRODUCTION

II.  JURISDICTION OF THE PARTIES

III.  JURISDICTION OF THE INJURY

IV.  APPELLATE JURISDICTION

V.  MISCELLANEOUS JURISDICTION

VI.  CONCLUSION



CHAPTER 3.  Injury by Accident

I.  OVERVIEW AND HISTORY

II.  STATUTORY DEFINITION AND INTERPRETATIONS

III.  GENERAL RULE

IV.  SPECIFIC TRAUMATIC INCIDENTS

V.  SUMMARY



CHAPTER 4.  Injuries Arising out of Employment

I.  OVERVIEW AND HISTORY

II.  STATUTORY DEFINITION AND INTERPRETATIONS

III.  TESTS TO DETERMINE CONNECTION TO WORK

IV.  CATEGORIES OF INJURIES

V.  SUMMARY



CHAPTER 5.  In the Course of the Employment

I.  INTRODUCTION

II.  PREMISES EXCEPTION

III.  CONTRACTUAL DUTY EXCEPTION

IV.  WHEN THE WORKER IS REQUIRED TO USE HER OWN VEHICLE AT WORK

V.  SPECIAL ERRAND EXCEPTION

VI.  DUAL PURPOSE EXCEPTION

VII.  TRAVELING SALESPERSON EXCEPTION

VIII.  CONCLUSION



CHAPTER 6.  Proving Causation in Workers' Compensation Cases

I.  THE STARTING POINT: THE GENERAL PRINCIPLE

II.  WHEN THE WORKPLACE ACCIDENT/DISEASE IS NOT THE SOLE CAUSE OF DISABILITY

III.  UNKNOWN CAUSES

IV.  CHAIN OF CAUSATION AND INTERVENING CAUSES

V.  ISSUES REGARDING PROOF OF CAUSATION



CHAPTER 7.  Proving Disability

I.  INTRODUCTION

II.  STATUTORY PROVISIONS

III.  MEANING, PRESUMPTIONS, AND THE BURDEN OF PROOF

IV.  STANDARDS FOR PROVING DISABILITY

V.  TOTAL DISABILITY

VI.  PARTIAL DISABILITY

VII.  2011 AMENDMENTS



CHAPTER 8.  Occupational Diseases

I.  INTRODUCTION

II.  STATUTORY PROVISIONS

III.  LISTED OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES

IV.  UNLISTED OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES

V.  LAST INJURIOUS EXPOSURE

VI.  STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

VII.  PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS



CHAPTER 9.  Medical Compensation

I.  MEDICAL COMPENSATION-AN OVERVIEW

II.  MEDICAL COMPENSATION AS DELINEATED BY STATUTE

III.  MEDICAL COMPENSATION AS DESCRIBED BY INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION RULES

IV.  MEDICAL COMPENSATION AS DISCERNED BY CASE LAW

V.  MEDICAL COMPENSATION AS DEVELOPED BY COUNSEL

VI.  MEDICAL COMPENSATION - CONCLUSION

VII.  APPENDIX



CHAPTER 10.  Vocational Rehabilitation

I.  HISTORICAL OVERVIEW

II.  HOW VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION WORKS IN NORTH CAROLINA WORKERS' COMPENSATION CASES

III.  PRACTICE TIPS

IV.  APPENDIX




CHAPTER 11.  Access to Medical Information: N.C. Gen. Stat. § 97-25.6

I.  INTRODUCTION

II.  ACCESS TO MEDICAL RECORDS

III.  WRITTEN COMMUNICATION WITH HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS

IV.  ORAL COMMUNICATIONS

V.  COMMUNICATIONS BY/WITH REHABILITATION PROFESSIONALS

VI.  APPENDIX



CHAPTER 12.  Average Weekly Wage

I. INTRODUCTION

II. CALCULATION OF THE AVERAGE WEEKLY WAGE

III. DETERMINATION OF THE AVERAGE WEEKLY WAGE IN SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES



CHAPTER 13.  Credits Under the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act

I. CREDITS FOR ALTERNATIVE PLAN PAYMENTS (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 97-42)

II. CREDITS FOR UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 97-42.1)

III. APPENDIX



CHAPTER 14.  Settlement, Clinchers, Ratings and Change of Condition

I. INTRODUCTION

II. RATINGS

III. SETTLEMENTS

IV. SPECIFIC SITUATIONS AND ISSUES

V. PARTING WORDS

VI. APPENDIX



CHAPTER 15.  Death Claims

I. INTRODUCTION

II. TIME LIMIT ON THE OCCURANCE OF THE DEATH

III. NOTICE AND FILING REQUIREMENTS

IV. INDEPENDENT CLAIM THAT ARISES AT DEATH

V. CAUSATION

VI. DISTRIBUTION OF BENEFITS

VII. BENEFICIARIES: WHOLE DEPENDENTS, PARTIAL DEPENDENTS AND NEXT OF KIN

VIII. ASBESTOSIS OR SILICOSIS CLAIMS

IX. WHERE AN EMPLOYEE DIES OF UNRELATED CAUSE BEFORE COMPENSATION DUE IS PAID

X. INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION HEARINGS

XI. ISSUES APPLICABLE TO ATTORNEYS IN DEATH CLAIMS

XII. APPENDIX



CHAPTER 16.  Consider Using G.S. § 97-10.2(j) to Bring Your Client Closer to Whole

I.   INTRODUCTION

II.  WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER USING THE G.S. § 97-10.2(J) PROCEDURE

III.  EVALUATE YOUR CLIENT'S CASE

IV.  WHEN TO FILE A G.S. § 97-10.2(j) ACTION

V.  WHAT TO FILE

VI.  WHERE TO FILE A G.S. § 97-10.2(j) ACTION

VII.  ELEMENTS OF PROOF NEEDED FOR A G.S. § 97-10.2(j) ORDER

VIII.  NECESSARY EVIDENCE AT A G.S. § 97-10.2(j) HEARING

IX.  THE ISSUES THE PRESIDING JUDGE IS ALLOWED TO DECIDE X. DISTRIBUTION OF THE PROCEEDS

XI.  POSITIVE OUTCOMES OF G.S. § 97-10.2(j) PROCEEDINGS

XII.  DOES THE CLIENT HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN PURSUING HER WORKERS' COMPENSATION CLAIM AND PURSUING A THIRD PARTY ACTION?

XIII.  INTERPLAY BETWEEN UM/UIM AND WORKERS' COMPENSATION LIENS

XIV.  CONCLUSION

XV.  APPENDIX



CHAPTER 17.  Motions Practice Before the Office of the Executive Secretary and Form 23 And Form 24 Informal Hearings - A Practical Guide

I.  INTRODUCTION

II.  MOTIONS PRACTICE

III.  FORM 23 AND FORM 24 APPLICATIONS

IV.  CONCLUSION

V.  APPENDIX



CHAPTER 18.  North Carolina Industrial Commission Expedited and Emergency Medical Motions

I.  OVERVIEW

II.  WHEN A MEDICAL MOTION MAY BE FILED

III.  PROCEDURE FOR EXPEDITED MEDICAL MOTIONS

IV.  PROCEDURE FOR EMERGENCY MEDICAL MOTIONS

V.  APPELLATE REVIEW OF DECISIONS DEMMED INTERLOCUTORY

VI.  GENERAL DISCUSSION



CHAPTER 19.  Practical Tips for Workers' Compensation Hearings

I.  SCOPE NOTE

II.  INTRODUCTORY INFORMATION

III.  THE PRE-HEARING PROCESS

IV.  DOCKETING AND IMMEDIATE PRE-HEARING PROCESS

V.  THE HEARING ITSELF

VI.  POST-HEARING

VII.  CONCLUSION



CHAPTER 20.  Practice Before the Full Industrial Commission

I.  INTRODUCTION

II.  NOTICE OF APPEAL

III.  APPEALS TIMELINES AND CLERK'S OFFICE PROCEDURES FOLLOWING APPEAL TO THE FULL COMMISSION

IV.  FORM 44 APPLICATION FOR REVIEW

V.  SCOPE OF FULL COMMISSION REVIEW

VI.  FULL COMMISSION MEDICAL MOTION PROCEDURE

VII.  EXHIBITS/TRANSCRIPTS

VIII.  MOTIONS OR COMMUNICATIONS AFTER APPEAL IS FILED

IX.  BRIEFING YOUR CASE BEFORE THE FULL COMMISSION

X.  ARGUING YOUR CASE BEFORE THE FULL COMMISSION AND POST-DECISION MOTIONS

XI.  APPEALS TO THE NORTH CAROLINA COURT OF APPEALS

XII.  REMAND FROM THE APPELLATE COURTS

XIII.  APPENDIX



CHAPTER 21.  Effective Appellate Advocacy for Workers' Compensation Practitioners

I.  GENERAL APPELLATE CONSIDERATIONS

II.  PREPARING FOR THE APPEAL AT THE COMMISSION STAGE

III.  RECORD ON APPEAL

IV.  THE BRIEF: THE MOST IMPORTANT DOCUMENT OTHER THAN THE ORDER

V.  CORRECTING RULES VIOLATIONS

VI.  MEDIATION

VII.  ORAL ARGUMENTS

VIII.  MISCELLANEOUS



CHAPTER 22.  Medicare as a Secondary Payor and Workers' Compensation Settlements

I.  INTRODUCTION



INDEX