The NC Court of Appeals filed a new attendant care decision on December 20, 2011. This case, Chandler v. Atlantic Scrap & Processing and Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., NC COA11-618, holds that a husband who provided attendant care services to his disabled wife was entitled to be paid for 15 hours a day of attendant care at $11 per hour, beginning in June 2004. His wife's doctor had informed Liberty Mutual that she needed someone with her all the time, and Liberty Mutual ignored the doctor and never provided attendant care. These good folks finally got a lawyer and filed for a hearing. The Industrial Commission at each level awarded attendant care compensation to the husband and the Court of Appeals affirmed the Full Commission decision. In fact, the Court affirmed an award of attorney's fees against Liberty Mutual (whose TV ads talk about how Liberty Mutual always "does the right thing") because Liberty had ignored the need for attendant care and refused to pay for it for years, and then defended the litigation without good reason. In other words, the Court popped Liberty Mutual with attorney fees for NOT doing the right thing. The Court allowed the husband to have a payment not just of the hourly wage but also interest on it at the legal rate from and after the date of the original hearing in the comp dispute.
On December 6, 2011 the NC Court of Appeals issued a decision that makes it harder to get attendant care paid for after the services are rendered. In Mehaffey v. Burger King, COA 10-1421, the Court held in a 3-0 decision that an injured worker must get "pre-approval" for attendant care services in order to require the insurance carrier to pay for those services. Retroactive payment for services rendered was rejected by the Court.