Hospital Worker on North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Won’t Get Job Back

January 11, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Last Wednesday, the North Carolina Personnel Commission ruled that it could not reinstate former Cherry Hospital employee O’Tonious Raynor to his job, marking a setback for a man who went through a long and drawn out process to collect North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits for eye injuries he sustained in a fight with a patient.

Raynor got into a fight with a schizophrenic patient in early March 2010. 55 year-old Bernard Freeman had been smoking when he wasn’t supposed to. Raynor interfered, and Freeman snapped and punched Raynor in the face, seriously hurting his eye. Raynor then pinned the patient down against some furniture and stood on his broken hand. Although the initial fight happened in a common area under surveillance, Raynor then wrestled Freeman out of view of the cameras into a nearby bedroom. Raynor later confessed: “I didn’t intend to hurt the patient. I felt like I was in danger, and I did the best I could under the circumstances…he told me “when I get up, I am going to kill you.””

The North Carolina Department of Justice examined the case against Raynor. No charges were filed. A judge agreed that Raynor used excessive force, but he also argued that the hospital could have simply disciplined him instead of firing him outright.

As this case illustrates, North Carolina workers’ compensation situations can get quite complicated and even ethically tricky. If a worker causes his own injury through carelessness (even partially), he may find it difficult to collect money for medical bills, surgeries, back pay, and lost wages. For instance, say you and some co-workers goofed around at a construction site. You then slipped on some tar, twisted your knee, and tore a ligament. Your employer might argue that your goofing around caused (or exacerbated) the injury and thus you should not be entitled to benefits or should be entitled only to limited benefits.

To clarify your rights and responsibilities, it’s important to get excellent legal guidance. Any on-the-record admissions you make – even seemingly minor admissions – can hamper your chance to get the money you need to support your family and recover. If an insurance company or employer has unfairly denied benefits to you, you can take legal steps to compel them to make good. A North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm can provide a free and effective (and confidential) consultation about your injuries and advise you about the best next steps to take.

More Web Resources:

O’Tonious Raynor’s story

Cherry Hospital


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