North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Analysts Reflect on Vegas Officer’s Claim Denial

July 19, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

A Nevada Supreme Court ruling on July 15th has rippled across the nation and grabbed the attention of analysts and pundits in the North Carolina workers’ compensation community. The NV Supreme Court ruled that a North Las Vegas correctional officer is not entitled to collect workers’ comp benefits. It’s a relatively “run of the mill” story…at least on the surface.

First, the details.

Jacqueline Phillips hurt herself in 2005 – ostensibly because she lifted heavy boxes at her job. Her claim was denied.

In September 2007, Phillips again filed for workers’ comp, this time because she claimed that she hurt herself pulling an inmate from a squad car into a holding cell. A quote from the Las Vegas Sun article describes what happened to her: “On September 22, 2007, she said she was injured on the job while transferring the inmate. She initially told her doctor this was an aggravation of the injury suffered in 2005. She told a second physician her symptoms began on September 30, or eight days after the reported incident. The city denied her claim. She was then treated by a third doctor whom she told her symptoms began on September 22.”

The court ruled that the doctors who treated Phillips did not link the injury with the event that happened on September 22. In other words, despite Phillips’ word that she had been hurt, neither the doctors nor the courts believed her – or least believed her to the point that they allowed her to start collecting benefits.

So this case might not have been particularly noteworthy, and it’s not like the mainstream media is engaging in a feeding frenzy about it. It’s no Casey Anthony. But it does hold important lessons for potential North Carolina workers’ compensation claimants. Specifically, it suggests that your word alone may not be enough.

In other words, YOU may believe that you got hurt on the job. But it takes more than subjective opinion to win a benefits case. Unfortunately, many claimants make errors of judgment, give inaccurate statements, and wait too long to get help from legal professionals. As a result of flailing and delaying, they may further injure their chances of being able to win a claim.

An experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm can help you identify: A, whether or not you have a case against an insurer, employer, or other institution and B, help you figure out a “best path,” strategically speaking, to get the compensation in the shortest, easiest way.

More Web Resources:

Nevada Supreme Court ruling on Phillips

Casey Anthony case