North Carolina Workers' Compensation Claimant Wins in Appellate Decision

November 6, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

On 9/1/09, the NC State Court Of Appeals released an unpublished decision in the case of Duffy v. Hanesbrands, Inc, finding for the claimant in this pivotal North Carolina workers’ compensation case.

The matter centered around whether the claimant, Duffy, had contracted carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) while working for her present employer or while training as a sowing machine operator prior to working for Hanesbrands, Inc. The employer argued that the company was not responsible for Duffy’s North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits because, in her old line of work, she had been exposed to conditions that could have precipitated CTS; and that the work she did for the company did not expose her to any unusual additional risks for CTS. The prosecution responded that the work Duffy had done at Hanesbrands Inc indeed put her at risk for CTS – she spent up to 12 hours per day doing repetitive manual tasks with her fingers; moreover, she didn’t come down with symptoms until after she had worked at the company for over a year.

Given that carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress disorders are relatively common in the sowing industry – definitely more common than they are among the general public – the appellate court found for the plaintiff, reasoning that Duffy was likely exposed to extra hazards while working for her employer.

This key North Carolina workers’ compensation ruling may pave the way for other CTS and repetitive stress injury claimants to seek and secure better benefits and compensation packages.

More Web Resources:

Sewing instructor able to stitch CTS condition to employment, Risk and Insurance, 9/1/09


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