Will Workers’ Comp pay for Attendant Care in NC?

Attendant care issues come up from time to time in NC Workers’ Comp cases. When a spouse or other loved one is required to put their career on hold to take care of the injured worker, then you have attendant care issues in your case.

Insurance companies hate attendant care cases because, frankly, they are very expensive.  Even at $15-20/hour, a nurse that has to come to your home 10-15 hours a day to care for a loved one will amount to a lot of money.

For that reason, the insurance companies will fight these cases tooth and nail through the industrial commission, and possibly up to the Court of Appeals.

Typically, to receive these benefits from the Industrial Commission, you will have to find an expert to testify that attendant care is necessary, and the treating doctors will have to concur with those recommendations.  This sounds easy, but it is not.  It is expensive and can take a long time to see it’s way through the court system.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are putting your career on hold to care for a loved one that has been injured at work, you need to contact a Workers’ Comp Lawyer who is in a position to fight your case all the way to the end.

NC Workers’ Comp CLE – Pain, Pain Go Away

Today and tomorrow I will be attending an Intermediate Level Workers’ Comp CLE in Greensboro, North Carolina called “Pain, Pain Go Away“, sponsored by the North Carolina Bar Association.

As the title suggests, the program will focus on different forms of pain management treatments (the speakers thus far seem to suggest that epidural steroid injections are overused and expensive – they would like to see a more holistic approach to pain management), as well as proposed changes and revisions to the Industrial Commission Rules, 2010 case reviews, and an update on insurance fraud.

Exciting stuff, huh?  I bet you wish you could join me.  Seriously though, even thought half the crowd is insurance defense lawyers, this is a great opportunity for networking and meeting some of the big names in Workers’ Comp throughout the state of North Carolina.  Four of the Commissioners from the Industrial Commission are here (they sit in 3 person panels and hear appeals from the decisions of the Deputy Commissioners), and I’m sure some Deputy Commissioners are in attendance as well.

If I hear something interesting and worth writing about, I’ll make sure to post an update later this evening.

Does your Workers Comp Settlement require that you give up your job?

In North Carolina, if you have requested a hearing before one of the Deputy Secretary’s at the Industrial Commission, then you are required to attend mediation prior to the hearing. Insurance companies will sometimes ask you to accept an offer that will not only pay you a lump sum settlement, but will also require you to resign your position or give up other legal rights that are not related to your workers compensation claim. (Insurance Companies are funny about asking you to do a whole lot more than you are legally required to do, while at the same time doing a lot LESS than they are required to do).

Not anymore.  In a recent case, Kee v. Caromont Health, the NC Court of Appeals found that an agreement (also called a “clincher”) that requires a worker to give up their job in addition to accepting a lump sum settlement is not enforceable.  At issue in this case was whether a provision that requires an employee to resign their position could be severed from the remainder of the settlement agreement – and the court found that it could not.

The rationale that the court used in this case was that the agreement did not comply with Rule 502(2)(e), which says that no compromise agreement will be approved unless it contains language which states “That no rights other than those arising under the provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act are compromised or released.”

Since the agreement at issue in this case did not contain this language, the agreement as a whole was unenforceable.

If you have a question about whether your Compromise Settlement Agreement is enforceable, please feel free to call NC Workers Compensation Lawyer James Hart at (919) 460-5422.