Victory for Claimant in North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Ruling

June 19, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

On April 21, 2009, the North Carolina Court of Appeals overturned a monetary ruling made by a lower court in the NC workers’ compensation case of Crawford v Phillips.

Facts of the Case

Crawford v Phillips involved the case of a worker at a carwash who got hurt in a slip and fall and sued his employers for injuries he sustained. The lower court awarded him medical benefits as well as disability payments.

Lack of Insurance Coverage

Under North Carolina law, employers who have more than three employees must carry insurance for workers’ compensation. The carwash owner never had this insurance. North Carolina law also mandates that owners must pay penalties for non-compliance.

Debate over How Much to Compensate for Lack of Insurance Coverage

The commission initially found the employer liable for damages of $50 a day, starting from the day of the accident, pursuant to the above-mentioned law that mandates insurance coverage. The unsatisfied claimant appealed this decision, arguing that his employer should have to pay penalties backdated–not from the moment of injury–but from the moment when the employer first set up his business back in 1988.

The Court of Appeals found for the claimant, ruling that the independent commission did not have the power to make law and that the carwash owner should have to pay out penalties backdated to 1988. The court has sent the case back down to the commission to adjust the penalty amount in accordance with its decision.

Amount of Penalty for Lack of Coverage Determined by Comp Law, Risk & Insurance, June 15, 2009

North Carolina Court of Appeals, April 21, 2009

More Web Resources:

Workers’ Comp Insurance

North Carolina Court of Appeals


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