Commissioner Hall Cracks Down on North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Insurance Violations

June 28, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Employers who violate the North Carolina workers’ compensation laws may one day find themselves standing before Deputy Commissioner, George R. Hall III, and other officials at the North Carolina Industrial Commission, pleading for mercy – that is, for the privilege to pay massive fines in lieu of jail time.

Could the times really be a changin’?

In two recent blog posts, we explored the fallout of a Charlotte News & Observer story that found that a ridiculous number (up to 30,000) of state businesses may lack adequate workers’ compensation insurance. Governor Beverly Perdue (among others), apparently found the statistics disgraceful – even terrifying – and put pressure on the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) to step up to the plate.

The Industrial Commission appears to have gotten the message.

Recently, for instance, the Commission fined the owners of a trucking company in Beaufort County over $100,000 – extracting assets that the owners had actually deeded to their children in order to pay the workers’ compensation claims of two widows who lost their husbands in crashes while working for the company.

Back in 2004, Gregory and Joyce Nixon dropped their workers’ comp coverage to streamline costs. Ironically and tragically, less than two weeks later, one of their drivers, David Murray, died in a truck crash. Three year passed – and Murray’s wife still had not gotten workers’ comp coverage – when a second driver, Richard Maynard, lost his life in a truck crash.

Murray and Maynard’s widows ultimately had to bring suit to get their workers’ comp money.

Although the NCIC brought the hammer down on the Nixons, the Commission has shown sympathy for other business owners, who’ve come up with every excuse under the sun to explain why they lacked proper coverage. Explanations cited included:

•    Economic problems
•    Bankruptcy
•    Unemployment
•    Foreclosure
•    And beyond

It’s important to recognize: some of these explanations are not only legitimate excuses but also deeply tragic in their own right. Even though the team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo often needs to go to battle against recalcitrant employers and insurance companies — those who block our clients from getting fair recoveries for their medical bills and other needs — we recognize that it is unfair and unproductive to paint people on the other side as villains.

We’re ALL struggling to come to terms with difficult financial and medical issues. We all need a little more empathy and understanding as we try to meet our various needs.

If you need help dealing with your workers’ comp benefits, connect today with our team for a free and confidential consultation.