Category: Workers’ Compensation

If I’m a Contract Worker, Do I Have Joint Employers?

If I’m a Contract Worker, Do I Have Joint Employers?

Many people have multiple employers. Sometimes this is because they are working more than one job. At other times, it’s because they are contract employees. It also could be because their job falls under the umbrella of two companies. Your individual situation determines how your case will be handled.

For instance, there was a case in 2013 concerning a woman who worked as a housekeeper for the Crothall Services Group. Through Crothall Services she was contracted out to Novant Health, Inc. in order to provide cleaning services. She was assigned to work at Forsyth Medical Center. As she was leaving to take her lunch break, she fell in the parking lot and injured her left shoulder. The parking lot was owned and managed by Novant.

The woman returned to work, but was later fired for smoking an e-cigarette during an unauthorized break. Not only was the break unauthorized, but Corthall’s policy required that she follow Novant’s no-smoking policy while at the hospital. After she was let go, she filed a workers’ compensation claim against both Crothall and Novant. However, both companies denied her claim.

When she tried to appeal her case, the court ruled in favor of Crothall and Novant because she was only employed by Crothall, not Novant, and since she was injured on Novant’s property, she was not eligible for workman’s comp.

The problem here was that these two companies were not her joint employers. If she’d been doing the same work for both companies, the situation would have been different. An experienced attorney can help you navigate small differences such like this and help you approach a case in the way that gives you the best chances of settling in your favor. So if you’ve been injured at work, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

If you’re doing contract work, there’s a good chance that you do not have joint employers. Feel free to contact the experienced attorneys at Oxner + Permar for a free consultation to find out how this affects your case.

Case Spotlight: Injured Trucker Trying to Return to Work


Case Spotlight: Injured Trucker Trying to Return to Work

In previous blogs, we’ve mentioned that we often have clients who are unsure about what kinds of cases we take. The truth is we take a wide variety of workman’s comp cases and work with clients from all kinds of industries — from nurses to construction workers to anything else you can think of. Your injury doesn’t even have to have taken place in North Carolina. As long as your company is located here, there’s a good chance we’ll take it on.

For instance, one of our current clients is a truck driver for a company located here in North Carolina. While driving through West Virginia, he got into a single vehicle accident. As a result, he broke his right elbow, tore his right tricep, injured his clavicle, tore his rotator cuff and injured his neck. After the accident, he continued experiencing headaches.

The good news was that workers’ compensation covered his surgery on his elbow and tricep, and paid him weekly checks. However, he still needed surgery on his rotator cuff. Our client is in his late 50s, and unsure whether he’ll be able to return to his job without further surgery. That’s when he reached out to Oxner + Permar. Our client has asked for our help to ensure that he receives his full medical treatment in order to regain full use of his arm and shoulder. Because if he is unable to return to work, what will he do? A lot rests on his case.

We are currently in the process of working with him to ensure that he receives full coverage of his treatments. Should he be unable to return to work, we’ll look at alternative options together to try to figure out his best course of action — because the most important thing to us is making wrongs, right!

If you’ve been injured at work, don’t hesitate to reach out. With more than $275 million in awards and settlements, Oxner + Permar has the experience to ensure you receive the benefits you need to aid in your recovery and get you back to work.

Don’t Let Insurance Prevent You from Getting Back to Work

Don’t Let Insurance Prevent You from Getting Back to Work

We know that when you’ve been injured on the job your aim is to get back to work as soon as possible. However, it can be frustrating when the insurance companies are preventing you from getting the treatment you need to heal properly. That’s one advantage of working with a workers’ comp attorney: We know how to deal with insurance companies.

For instance, we’re currently working with a client who was injured while installing guard rails. He tripped in a hole and twisted his knee. His injury required knee surgery, and as a result, he was completely out of work. Naturally, he applied for workers’ compensation and was receiving benefits to cover him while he was out of work.

However, after his surgery, his orthopedic physician recommended physical therapy. The insurance company refused to authorize this treatment. When our client returned to his doctor weeks later for a follow up appointment, his doctor explained that without physical therapy, his knee would not heal properly. Despite this, his insurance company would not cover the treatment.

Weeks had gone by with no treatment. Our client was frustrated because without physical therapy, he couldn’t get better and wouldn’t be able to return to work at all. It was then that he reached out to us. Upon signing him, we immediately got his physical therapy approved.

It can be incredibly frustrating when it feels like the insurance company is working against you — especially when all you want to do is return to work. At Oxner + Permar, we’ll fight for your rights and help you back to work as soon as possible.

We always recommend that the sooner you contact a workers’ comp attorney the better. We know what to look for when dealing with workman’s comp cases, so we can make sure you’re getting the benefits and treatment you need to get back to work as soon as possible.

Does the Future of Workers’ Comp Include Robotics?

Does the Future of Workers’ Comp Include Robotics?

When people think of workers’ compensation, they don’t usually think of robotics. However, the US Food and Drug Administration has recently approved a device that could begin to open workman’s compensation to the world of robotics. Several companies are working to create exoskeletons for medical use. These exoskeletons are external full-body robotic devices that can make it possible for people with paraplegia or other mobility disabilities to walk.

It may sound like science fiction, but this technology is already being put to good use. The USFDA has already approved 3 exoskeleton devices. Two of the devices, ReWalk and Indego, have been evaluated and have received USFDA approval for both personal and medical facility use. This is a huge advancement in medical robotics. What does this have to do with workers’ compensation? 

Well, believe it or not, some workers’ comp insurers have already approved a few claims for these motorized devices and will cover both the device and the training. However, not all carriers have chosen to cover these devices — mainly because they are currently quite expensive.

In order to use these devices, patients need to be able to use the standing frame, have control of their hands, and their shoulders must be able to support the use of crutches or a walker. Each unit is custom fitted to each user. The control system is worn like a backpack, and the user can control power walking through wrist pad controllers. There is also a tilt sensor to help stabilize steps. These devices allow users to walk, sit, stand, and go up and down steps.

It certainly looks like these exoskeletons are the future of spinal cord injury treatment. Early research shows that these devices not only provide an improved quality of life, but also reduce the risk of secondary complications and are effective in allowing the user to navigate their community.

If you have sustained a spinal injury while on the job, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced attorney. At Oxner + Permar, we are dedicated to helping our clients and ensuring that their rights are protected.

My claim was denied – What now?

My claim was denied – What now?

Having your claim denied can feel like a dead end. However, just because your claim has been denied, doesn’t mean your case is over. When your workers’ compensation insurance company denies your claim, they’re basically saying that they don’t think they are responsible for paying for your injuries.

A lot of workman’s compensation law is determined by laws that can be up for interpretation. That’s why attorneys are the best people to interpret relevant statutes and analyze claims. Because so much is open to interpretation, claims are denied for all sorts of reasons, and just because one law was interpreted one way for another case, doesn’t mean it’ll be interpreted the same way for your case.

When you receive a denial, your attorney will do two main things:

  1. Send a list of Interrogatories to the Defendants.
    Interrogatories really just means a list of questions. These questions are designed to help your attorney figure out why the claim was denied and discover any information that was not available before. Generally they have about 30 days to fill them out, though they can file for an extension. Chances are you and your attorney will receive a list of interrogatories from the defense as well.
  2. File a Hearing Request.
    This will allow the Deputy Commissioner to determine if your denial was improper – if so your case will go to court. It will also give you and the defendants a chance to go to mediation and settle your case outside of court. As it can take around 6 months to actually get a hearing, mediation is a good option in the meantime.

If you can afford it, we highly recommend that you continue seeking treatment until your hearing. Not only will it be beneficial to your health, but it gives us a better understanding of your medical condition, which gives us a better understanding of your case.

If your workers’ comp claim was denied, there are still plenty of opportunities to come to a settlement. Be sure to contact an experienced attorney who will help guide you through the process.