Workers' Compensation Law Firm

The Workers' Compensation Law Firm is a team of attorneys representing clients in the workers' compensation legal system.

A full service law firm with emphasis on Work and Auto Accidents

[11/14/17]   In an car accident while working?

Several factors come into play between the drivers involved and employer when it comes to car/trucking accident related injuries, such as:

Who owns the car?
Who’s responsible?
Were you on your way to or from work?
Who’s insurance company pays?

Some insurance companies often point the finger at each other and refuse to pay what is owed. Workers Compensation carriers should pay regardless of fault of the employee but may have lien to get paid back if the liability carrier pays a settlement or judgment. This lien can be negotiated or eliminated in some circumstances. You need lawyer who can handle both claims to coordinate your benefits. We handle all aspects of your case and can negotiate all these claims.

Sometimes work related car accidents develop into complicated legal matters between employer and employee, especially in unique situations. Getting in an accident driving a company vehicle for out of town work purposes is a common disagreement for workers’ compensation cases. Employers often claim their workers were not actually working at the time. This often results in many employees not receiving the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve.

Sherman Lee Criner is attending the North Carolina Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Section Council meeting.

Sherman is conducting an arbitration for the American Arbitration Association in Bennettsville, SC with parties from Los Angeles, CA, Washington D.C. & South Carolina.
The Bennettsville Courthouse is one of my favorite courthouses. It was one of the few courthouses who’s records were not destroyed by General Sherman, during his southern campaign. One of Sherman’s commanding generals, General Jospeh Hawley, was originally from this area, Stewartsville, and it is believed he intervened to save its destruction. He went on to serve as Governor of Connecticut & US Senator.

[10/30/17]   NECK & BACK
Neck and Back Injuries
Spinal Vertebrae injuries can be the most painful and lingering injuries that a person sustains on the job.
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA), damage to the neck and back are the second most common workplace injuries in the United States. Never wait to report a neck or back accident! Injuries to the spinal area are very delicate and delaying treatment could result in irreversible damage.

Recent workers’ compensation cases suggest that by failing to clearly and accurately state the location of her injuries, a worker not only delayed neck treatment, which ultimately can lead to a more severe injury, but also difficulties seeking compensation for neck injury because they may only reported shoulder pain at first.

Common Workplace Neck and Back Injuries:

Neck and back workplace injuries are generally a result of overextension of the spine from pulling, pushing, lifting and having poor posture when sitting for long periods of time. Accidents can occur simply from lifting a box that’s too heavy or from persistent strain on muscles and discs protecting the spinal vertebrae. Neck and back pain can be broken down into two types of pain:
Acute: temporary pain that comes on quickly but lessens within a few weeks.
Chronic: pain that lasts more than six weeks, sometimes even years.

Common neck and back injuries from which workers often suffer include lower back strain, fractured vertebrae, pinched nerves, herniated disc, and spinal cord damage. The most common industries that experience these injuries include:
Construction
Manufacturing
Mining
Automobile Repair

After scheduling a visit with a physician, workers are given an injury diagnosis that determines their type of disability.
Temporary disability: workers are able to go back to work and resume job duties after recovery.
Permanent partial disability: workers are able to go back to work after recovery, but not perform their former job duties.
Permanent total disability: workers are not able to return to their previous job.

[10/20/17]   Trucker must rest to help avoid accidents:

First announced in December 2011 by FMCSA, the rules limit the average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours to ensure that all truck operators have adequate rest. Only the most extreme schedules will be impacted, and more than 85 percent of the truck driving workforce will see no changes.

Working long daily and weekly hours on a continuing basis is associated with chronic fatigue, a high risk of crashes, and a number of serious chronic health conditions in drivers. It is estimated that these new safety regulations will save 19 lives and prevent approximately 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries each year.

"These fatigue-fighting rules for truck drivers were carefully crafted based on years of scientific research and unprecedented stakeholder outreach," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "The result is a fair and balanced approach that will result in an estimated $280 million in savings from fewer large truck crashes and $470 million in savings from improved driver health. Most importantly, it will save lives."

FMCSA's new hours-of-service final rule:

Limits the maximum average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours, a decrease from the current maximum of 82 hours;
Allows truck drivers who reach the maximum 70 hours of driving within a week to resume if they rest for 34 consecutive hours, including at least two nights when their body clock demands sleep the most - from 1-5 a.m., and;
Requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift.
The final rule retains the current 11-hour daily driving limit and 14-hour work day.

Companies and drivers that commit egregious violations of the rule could face the maximum penalties for each offense. Trucking companies and passenger carriers that allow drivers to exceed driving limits by more than three hours could be fined $11,000 per offense, and the drivers themselves could face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense.

As a licensed attorney in NC & SC, Sherman is attending the 41st Annual SC Workers’ Compensation Educational Association Conference and had the opportunity to speak with and meet SC Governor, Henry McMasters.

Canada's wake-up call to the US on NAFTA

cnn.com

North Carolina is a ‘at will’ employment state. Many people ask us: When can an employer fire an employer? We explain that as an ‘at will’ state, a North Carolina employer can fire an employee for any reason and does not have to establish ‘just cause.’ The employer is prohibited from firing an employee for discriminatory purposes as defined under the U.S. Civil Rights Act, i.e. race, age, gender, religion, etc... or in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Often the employee feels this is patently unfair. We remind employees that while this may seem unfair, an employee has the reciprocal freedom to quit their job at anytime and are not bound to a contract subjecting them to damages. Employees have the freedom to retire, take a better job, move, etc... No contract exists between the employee/employer.
This article is interesting as it addresses the issue in light of NAFTA. Just an interesting read on how state law can affect trade agreements and vice versa.

cnn.com The state "right to work" laws are exploiting American workers and need to be repealed, and I've introduced a bill that can help, writes Elizabeth Warren

[09/14/17]   NC Workers' Compensation

The North Carolina Industrial Commission recently announced that they will no longer accept any filings for relief or responses to filings for relief filed by an adjuster. As of Monday, September 18, 2017, the Industrial Commission will no longer accept certain documents from adjusters including, but not limited to, Form 24 Applications, Responses to Form 23 Applications, Responses to Form 28Us or Responses to 18Ms.

Per the Commission’s announcement, they will also not accept Motions filed by adjusters, including, but not limited to, Motions to Compel Compliance with Medical Treatment, Motions to Compel Compliance with Vocational Rehabilitation, Responses to Medical Motions or any other requests for relief.

However, the Commission will continue to accept Form 26As, Form 60s and agreements regarding death benefits entered into by the adjuster.

The Industrial Commission’s decision appears to be a response to the North Carolina State Bar’s concern that the filing for relief and filing responses to motions by adjusters constitutes an unauthorized practice of law. Per the Commission’s announcement, any submission by an adjuster detailed above will be rejected and not considered by the Commission.

Going forward, it will be necessary to retain an attorney to file Form 24 Applications, Responses to Form 23 Applications, Responses to Forms 28Us and Responses to Form 18Ms, as well as Motions to Compel Compliance and Responses to Medical Motions. If Defendants wish to respond to a pending administrative filing by Plaintiff, the Commission may grant Defendants 10 days from the date of the rejection to obtain legal counsel and file a response.

This announcement should not affect an adjuster’s ability to negotiate settlement terms.

Thanks to MGC for this information.

[09/14/17]   New Rules for Adjusters

The North Carolina Industrial Commission recently announced that they will no longer accept any filings for relief or responses to filings for relief filed by an adjuster. As of Monday, September 18, 2017, the Industrial Commission will no longer accept certain documents from adjusters including, but not limited to, Form 24 Applications, Responses to Form 23 Applications, Responses to Form 28Us or Responses to 18Ms.

Per the Commission’s announcement, they will also not accept Motions filed by adjusters, including, but not limited to, Motions to Compel Compliance with Medical Treatment, Motions to Compel Compliance with Vocational Rehabilitation, Responses to Medical Motions or any other requests for relief.

However, the Commission will continue to accept Form 26As, Form 60s and agreements regarding death benefits entered into by the adjuster.

The Industrial Commission’s decision appears to be a response to the North Carolina State Bar’s concern that the filing for relief and filing responses to motions by adjusters constitutes an unauthorized practice of law. Per the Commission’s announcement, any submission by an adjuster detailed above will be rejected and not considered by the Commission.

Going forward, it will be necessary to retain an attorney to file Form 24 Applications, Responses to Form 23 Applications, Responses to Forms 28Us and Responses to Form 18Ms, as well as Motions to Compel Compliance and Responses to Medical Motions. If Defendants wish to respond to a pending administrative filing by Plaintiff, the Commission may grant Defendants 10 days from the date of the rejection to obtain legal counsel and file a response.

This announcement should not affect an adjuster’s ability to negotiate settlement terms. Thanks to MGC for this information.

Sherman Lee Criner just satisfied his Continuing Mediation Education requirements by completing "Ruminations: Regulations, Rulings, and Reconsiderations--The DRC's Role in Mediator Certification and Practice." Mediation is not only a critical tool in trying to resolve litigation in a workers' compensation case but it is required before a case can proceed to court. Litigation is time consuming and unpredictable. Mediation allows our clients to control the resolution of their case effectively and efficiently. Legal matters are complicated. You do not have to risk being taken advantage of by negotiating on your own. You also do not have to risk losing control of your decision making authority. We can help you negotiate these complicated cases while you retain final decision making authority at a mediation.

Attorney, AshleyandJulia Edwards, will go to any heights to represent his clients.

MEDIATION

youtube.com

There is no mechanism to force a settlement or to determine a value to a workers' compensation case. A workers' compensation case can only resolve or settle if the parties voluntarily agree. This primarily happens through the mediation process but most injured workers have never been through a mediation. Here is a good 11 minute video by one of our attorneys explaining the mediation process.
https://youtu.be/n0a_KULVieA

Alternative Dispute Resolution of the Carolinas - Introduction to Mediation.


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