I spent my morning today in court, trying a workers' comp case. The insurance company and employer were hoping to stop my client's weekly TTD--temporary total disability-- checks, on the basis that he either had returned to work or should have returned to work by now.
I was browsing through the comments on a web forum today and saw a thread of people complaining about their lawyers (in another state) "selling them out" to get a legal fee. It got me to thinking about the importance of lawyer integrity in the counseling and advising of clients.
Today we received a favorable Deputy Commissioner Opinion and Award in a workers' compensation claim. (E.T. v. Phillip Morris and ACE/ESIS). Mr. E.T. is Chad's client, but Bob handled the hearing due to a scheduling conflict. It was a team effort---both Bob and Chad were involved in the post-hearing depositions of the treating doctor and other medical experts. Chad then wrote the Contentions. The favorable decision today was a big win for our client, because he needed some additional back surgery recommended by his treating doctor that the Defendants were denying. The Deputy Commissioner ordered the Defendants to provide the treatment that they had denied.
An injured worker is entitled to represent himself in court or in a workers' comp claim in North Carolina. Is it a good idea?
Bob Bollinger is pleased to announce that he has become a Certified Superior Court Mediator. His certification by the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission became effective in late August. Bob took the 40 hour mediator training course taught by mediation expert Andy Little of Mediation, Inc. http://www.mediationincnc.com/ It was an outstanding training course and Bob learned a lot about the mediation and negotiation processes.
On August 21, 2012, the NC Court of Appeals filed a new decision on attorneys' fees as a sanction in workers' compensation cases. In Ensley v. FMC Corporation and Broadspire (servicing agent), COA12-255, the Court held that the Industrial Commission had correctly assessed attorneys' fees against FMC and Broadspire as a penalty for unreasonably defending this asbestosis case.
On August 19, 2012, the Observer ran this article about North Carolina workers who get hurt at work, and are then denied benefits because their employer fraudulently misclassified them as "independent contractors." If your employer is telling you when and where to work, and how to do the job, then you are probably an employee and not an independent contractor. Call us here at the Bollinger Law Firm if you are concerned about your employer committing misclassification fraud. We can help you. Here is the article:
Here is an investigative article from the Charlotte Observer on August 19, 2012, about employers in NC who cheat their employees out of workers' compensation coverage in various ways. These employers are also getting a competitive advantage over businesses that follow the law and play by the rules.