Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation Law Firm in Charlotte, North Carolina

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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matt Arnold answers the question: “How do worker comps payments work?”

Immigration is a complicated thing, that’s something everyone understands. Recent news headlines reveal how heated the topic can be, with people voicing strong opinions on the subject. Though there are broader debates about whether and how much immigration is a good thing how the system ought to operate, most people agree that it’s important that once immigrants are in the country that they have access to the justice system on an equal playing field with others. To do otherwise would create a lower caste of people who are denied justice.

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “Should I delete old posts or censor new posts while going through a divorce?”

Thankfully, most people don’t give much thought to things like forum or jurisdiction after they’ve suffered a serious injury. After all, the person with the injury is likely busy trying to recover and understandably delegates tasks like filing the lawsuit in the appropriate venue to his or her personal injury attorney. Though forum selection should never be foremost in a plaintiff’s mind, it’s good to understand some background on the issue given the impact it can have on certain personal injury cases. To learn (a little) more about forum shopping and selection, keep reading.

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Personal injury Lawyer Matt Arnold answers the question: “What qualifies a person to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits?”

Despite the millions of U.S. workers each year who report a workplace injury or illness, there are countless other workplace injuries that go unreported. Incentives for not reporting (and disincentives for reporting) keep many workers from ever reporting their injuries, barring them from filing for workers’ compensation to receive wage compensation and medical treatment.

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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matt Arnold answers the question: “What can you sue for in a personal injury case?”

Immigration has been and still is an incredibly hot button issue in the United States. The issue is politically, legally and even socially charged, with reasonable individuals expressing a wide array of views. Though immigration status frequently comes up in a legal context, it does so usually with regard to deportation or the right to receive certain benefits. One area where immigration status is seldom discussed is in the context of a personal injury claim.

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What qualifies a person to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits?”

It is genuinely tragic to think that someone simply trying to earn a living and provide for their family might leave for work in the morning and not make it home in the evening. Fortunately, the frequency with which such tragedies occur has decreased over the past several decades thanks to increasingly tough regulations and enforcement by federal and state workplace safety agencies. Though things have improved, it’s important to remember that hundreds of people die across the country each and every year due to lapses of workplace safety procedures, meaning hundreds of families suffer through the loss of a loved one who was only trying get to work.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “What if the accident was my fault?”

The horrible accidents that marred the fun of the North Carolina State Fair have been in the news a lot recently, especially articles concerning the injured riders who may have been victims of intentional tampering with the ride’s safety features. Another person seriously injured due to a different Vortex ride has not gotten nearly the same amount of press, though likely deserves it given the horrible circumstances of his accident and the extent of his injuries.

State Fair Ride 2 Charlotte Injury Lawyer North Carolina Wrongful Death Attorney.jpgFamily members for Anesto Newell, a 32-year-old worker at the fair, say that he has undergone emergency surgery to treat life-threatening injuries sustained after a portion of the Vortex ride he was tearing down collapsed on top of him. Newell was part of a crew hired by Powers Great American Midways to tear down the rides after the fair closed to the public last week. Newell was about four hours into his shift when witnesses say an entire row of seats from the Vortex ride fell onto the man.

The accident happened around 3:30 in the morning and, horrifyingly, Newell’s two brothers were also in the area working to break down rides. They say that they heard a series of loud pops and then a terrible boom. Afterwards, they looked up and noticed the top of the Vortex ride was swaying and appeared to be missing a row of seats. It only took a second for the brothers to realize that the Vortex was where Newell had been working and they went running to offer assistance.

By the time they arrived they found Newell mangled by the row of four seats. As horrible as it is to imagine, they say Newell was bent in such a way that his feet were stuck near his head and was understandably in an immense amount of pain. Emergency responders arrived soon thereafter and rushed Newell into WakeMed for treatment.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “I have been injured on another person’s property. What should I do now?”

A major report compiled by the AFL-CIO was recently released which discussed the current state and health of the average American worker. The report dove into the ways in which workers suffer harm while on the job and examined which workers were at the greatest risk for suffering workplace accidents.

The study, titled “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect,” found that in 2011 there were 148 workplace deaths in North Carolina. Of these, a third involved transportation incidents such as workers dying while on the road. Amazingly, 20 percent of the workplace fatalities involved violence and assault, not something that many people would assume happens in the workplace.

The next biggest category of workplace fatalities was industrial falls. Contact with dangerous workplace equipment is responsible for 24 fatalities in North Carolina each year, harmful substances and chemicals are responsible for 12 fatalities and fires and explosion were found to be to blame for four fatalities. Hard Hat Charlotte North Carolina Personal Injury Wrongful Death Lawyer Attorney.jpg

The study also found that Latino workers were at an especially high risk of workplace death and injury. The reason was not because Latinos are more prone to accidents, but instead because, as a group, Latinos are more likely to work in hazardous industries with poor safety records. These industries include things like construction and agriculture where safety regulations are often lax or totally nonexistent. Another problem identified in the report is that undocumented workers are especially vulnerable to workplace injuries because they are often reluctant to report dangerous working conditions for fear of being deported.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “I have been injured on another person’s property. What should I do now?”

Chicken processing plants are big business across the southern U.S., especially here in North Carolina where thousands of workers are employed in poultry plants. Though the jobs can be important for some rural communities, the dangers posed by working in the plants can be tremendous.

Just last month a poultry processing plant in Raeford, NC was ordered to pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines for releasing untreated wastewater into the city’s treatment plant. The water contained blood and turkey parts and was sent directly to the treatment plant without any warning. The investigation found that the company ordered employees to handle the potentially harmful waste before it was sent out into the town’s water supply. Chicken Personal Injury Workers compensation Charlotte North Carolina Lawyer Attorney.jpg

The news of the North Carolina incident, which jeopardized the health and safety of plant workers, mirrors the conclusion of a recent report issued by the Southern Poverty Law Center, called “Unsafe at These Speeds”. The report found that workers in poultry plants are often exposed to dangerous work conditions and suffer injuries at much higher rates than other workers.

The problem the report zeroed in on was that workers at chicken plants are required to work at an unsustainably fast pace. The grueling workload puts workers at risk for injuries and also exposes them to harmful and even toxic substances. Given the cold temperatures in the plants and the repetitive work, muscle pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, back and shoulder problems are all very common. In fact, the risk is so high that the study found that workers at chicken plants are almost 2.5 times more likely to have severe carpal tunnel than non-poultry industry workers.

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Personal Injury Law Firm in Charlotte Mecklenburg County NC N.C. North Carolina.jpgA recent report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named an industry popular in North Carolina the most dangerous occupation in the country.

The report, part of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality assessment, said that the commercial fishing industry has the highest occupational fatality rate in the U.S. The numbers are so astounding that those in the commercial fishing business have death rates 35 times higher than the rate for an ordinary U.S. worker.

Between 2000 and 2009 a total of 504 commercial fishermen were killed on the job. Of this number, 51% died by drowning due to the sinking of their vessels. Thirty percent of commercial fishing deaths were from falls overboard and another 10% occurred due to injuries sustained on-board fishing boats.

These on-board injuries are the ones that most commonly impact workers from North Carolina. According to the report, common on-board injuries include entanglement in machinery while using winches. Use of these winches occurs most frequently in the Southern United States on vessels used to haul in shrimp.

The CDC specifically explored the Southern shrimp fleet and found that in the past decade eight people died and another 27 were serious injured in work-related accidents that involved on-board winches. The Southern shrimp fleet is based primarily in the Gulf of Mexico, but has another major location off the Atlantic coast of North Carolina and employees hundreds of North Carolina fishermen.

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Workers' Compensation Workers' Comp Work Comp Lawyers and Attorneys in Charlotte Mecklenburg County NC N.C. North Carolina.jpgA recent case before the North Carolina Court of Appeals dealt with what happens when a employee is injured while on premises controlled by an employer but while out on a lunch break and engaged in a personal activity.

The case, Mintz v. Verizon Wireless, involved a customer service representative for Verizon who worked on the second floor of an office building. Verizon did not own the building, only leasing a portion of the office space, and was one of several tenants. The woman was required to take a half hour lunch each day, during which time she liked to walk along the halls for exercise, especially those on first floor.

One day, after walking for close to 30 minutes, the woman went into a bathroom on the first floor. After she was done and about to walk out the door to head to her cubicle, she slipped and fell on a piece of ice that had fallen out of an ice machine situated near the bathroom door. When she fell, she hit the ground hard and seriously injured her knee. The woman had a history of knee problems and had even had surgery on that same knee five years before. After going to get medical treatment, her doctor determined that the fall had seriously aggravated the already bad arthritis in her knee.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals, upon hearing the case, decided that the woman was entitled to benefits related to her fall. The Appeals Court said that the woman’s injury occurred as a result of her employment. Though Verizon may not have owned the building or even occupied the floor the woman was walking on, she was injured due to a condition in a common area of the building; a space the court determined was part of her workplace. The Court justified this decision by saying that Verizon specifically encouraged employees to go to the first floor of the building given that was where the communal cafeteria was located.

The Court of Appeals ruled against Verizon, dismissing their argument that the injury did not take place during the course of the woman’s employment. The Court made clear that Verizon was a major tenant in the building and that this allowed them to essentially control the premises. The fact that she was injured on a different floor did not matter given that she was returning to her desk after a paid, and mandated, break.

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