North Carolina Worker's Compensation - Help For Injured North Carolina Workers

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Question about shoulder injury

    I'm in simular situation with torn pectoral muscle.Had accident at work 2 yrs. ago.First diag. bruised muscle, later sent to theropy,didn't help,next took X-rays,sent to specialist 2 months later who diag. torn pec and surgery was necassary.Released by Dr. with 25lb lifting restrictions.I'm still currently unemployed and the insurance co can't seem to find me a job in Automotive Tech Field or within my restrictions.Would like to know if injury could've been made more extensive by being mis-diagnosed at the begining by first DR.?I guess what i'm trying to say is does anyone think that this could be a lawsuit against the first Dr.?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    2,997

    Default Re: Torn Pectoral Muscle

    Probably not. The first doc was probably performing within the local standard of care for his particular speciality, and if so, it is not malpractice.

    That is an injury that would be difficult to diagnose correctly without some pretty sophisticated and expensive imaging studies, anyway.

    If he was a "doc in a box" or "occupational medicine" doc, the standard of care for those guys is apparently not very high. At least, it is not very high for those types of docs here in Charlotte. Misdiagnosis and denial of treatment on a daily basis are par for the course for that bunch, so it is pretty hard to show one of them committed malpractice. They usually seem to act like insurance adjusters who happen to have a license to practice medicine. This is one of the pervasive problems in workers' comp. You get hurt and the employer sends you to a poorly trained and maybe even incompetent doctor.

    Good luck.
    The North Carolina Court of Appeals has held that "In contested Workers' Compensation cases today, access to competent legal counsel is a virtual necessity." Church v. Baxter Travenol Labs, Inc., and American Motorists Insurance Company, 104 N.C. App. 411, 416 (1991).

    Bob Bollinger, Attorney at Law

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Torn Pectoral Muscle

    Thanks for the information.W/C now tyring to close case.Was wondering what kind of figure would be offered or what should I expect?My rating is 25% and still unemployed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    2,997

    Default Re: Torn Pectoral Muscle

    If you are still not working, then you need to be doing a diligent job search so that you can prove continuing disability under Russell v. Lowes Distribution Co., a NC Court of Appeals case that tells how to prove disability. If you can prove ongoing disability then they have to keep paying you TTD until you either return to work or they get an order from the Commission to stop your checks.

    If you are not working now and they are not sending you a weekly check, then something is already screwed up in your case.

    You need to buy a notebook and keep a diary or journal of ALL of your job search efforts. Write down all the details. If you send a resume to an ad in the paper, clip the ad out and tape it into your notebook. Periodically take it to the library and copy it so that if you lose the notebook you will have the copies. Trust me on this---This notebook may end up being worth thousands of dollars to you. If you keep your journal on your computer, print it out frequently and save the hardcopies with your important papers, in case your computer crashes. This job search journal is vitally important if you want to maximize your settlement.

    This is a pretty complicated area of law and I can't explain all the details here. But, you get to choose the most lucrative remedy---if you cannot find work due to your injury in spite of a diligent, ongoing search, then you can choose the ongoing TTD benefits instead of the rating money. You get whichever one is the most. You have to continue looking for a job.

    You just have to prove your entitlement to something more than the rating money, which is automatic, by proving you are not able to work due to your injury.

    If you take the rating money when you don't have a job, then you are probably leaving thousands of dollars behind.

    If you get a job, take the rating money, then cannot perform the job due to your injury, you may be able to reopen your case and get more benefits. I litigated this issue for a fellow recently who had carpal tunnel and not a lot of education. It has been really hard for him to find a job. We just settled his case this week for about 5 years (260 weeks) worth of TTD. Without a job search diary, he would have just gotten his ratings--which was equal to 20 weeks of TTD. As it turned out, we got him both of those pots of money. That job search, and the evidence of it in your diary, are critical to your case.
    The North Carolina Court of Appeals has held that "In contested Workers' Compensation cases today, access to competent legal counsel is a virtual necessity." Church v. Baxter Travenol Labs, Inc., and American Motorists Insurance Company, 104 N.C. App. 411, 416 (1991).

    Bob Bollinger, Attorney at Law

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Torn Pectoral Muscle

    Your info has been very helpful.I/C started at $35 eventually went to $75.
    My lawyer put in another offer for $130,then they came back with a offer of $110.I have done all of my job searches and job interviews no jobs found.Lawyer seems to think this is a good offer.Do you think this would be a good time to settle? Comp check amount $525.Thanks again for all your help.

    TORN PEC

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    2,997

    Default Re: Torn Pectoral Muscle

    $110K is about 4 years worth of TTD at a comp rate of $525. If you think you will be earning at least your Average Weekly Wage ($525 x 1.5) per week 4 years from now, (roughly $800per week) working full time, then it may be a pretty good deal. But it is hard for me to say for sure as I don't know all the facts, and I also do not want to interfere with the legal advice your own lawyer is giving you.

    If I knew who your lawyer was, I could tell you whether that person is sufficiently experienced to really have a good handle on the case and on evaluating it for settlment.
    The North Carolina Court of Appeals has held that "In contested Workers' Compensation cases today, access to competent legal counsel is a virtual necessity." Church v. Baxter Travenol Labs, Inc., and American Motorists Insurance Company, 104 N.C. App. 411, 416 (1991).

    Bob Bollinger, Attorney at Law

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    4

    Smile Re: Torn Pectoral Muscle

    Thanks Bob for all your help.This has truely been a great forum,it has gotten me through these rough times.I have decided to settle with the W/C
    on the fact that I think I should be able to go back to work after this is all over with.It really has been a long process but in the end after reading about other injuried workers I guess my situation is not as bad as it may seem.Once again thanks Bob and everyone else on this forum for helping me get through my journey with workers comp.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    2,997

    Default Re: Torn Pectoral Muscle

    Good luck to you. I wish you well!
    The North Carolina Court of Appeals has held that "In contested Workers' Compensation cases today, access to competent legal counsel is a virtual necessity." Church v. Baxter Travenol Labs, Inc., and American Motorists Insurance Company, 104 N.C. App. 411, 416 (1991).

    Bob Bollinger, Attorney at Law

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