Update from the North Carolina Industrial Commission

Bruce Hamilton

Industrial Commission Policy Update on In-Person Hearings, Mediations, and Other Procedural Directives. The North Carolina Industrial Commission has adopted an Emergency Rule that in turn allows the Industrial Commission to implement Emergency Orders and Directives of the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. In short, the Industrial Commission wants its operating structure to…

How Will Layoffs Due to COVID-19 Affect a Claimant’s Entitlement to Workers’ Compensation Indemnity Benefits?

Elizabeth Ligon and Bruce Hamilton

While the North Carolina Industrial Commission has not yet issued any decisions specifically related to COVID-19, there are prior cases that have considered whether a claimant is entitled to indemnity benefits when their disability is the result of economic conditions. In general, when a claimant’s disability is due to an economic downturn, rather than a…

COVID-19 and Workers’ Compensation Implications in North Carolina Due to an Increase in Teleworking

Bruce Hamilton and Tracey Jones

Brief overview of the legal analysis of COVID-19 workers’ compensation exposure in North Carolina. COVID-19 cases must be handled and analyzed on a case-by-case basis; however, based upon the current statute and case law, it is unlikely that suspected COVID-19 or actual COVID-19 cases would be considered compensable under either an injury by accident or…

Court of Appeals Sees Through Attempt to Skirt Workers’ Compensation Rules on Employees and Independent Contractors

Bruce Hamilton and Luke West

In Macias v. BSI Associates, Inc. d/b/a Carolina Chimney, No. COA 19-299 (November 5, 2019), a recent unpublished opinion, the Court of Appeals reiterated its adherence to the Hayes doctrine for determining whether an injured worker is an “employee” and therefore entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, or an “independent contractor” and not entitled to any…

Update from the NC Industrial Commission

Bruce Hamilton

The North Carolina Industrial Commission recently published its 2019 Annual Report. In addition to the statistical overview of fiscal year 2018-2019, (61,776 workers’ compensation claims filed for the fiscal year), the IC also reported that the long-awaited modern case management system is projected to go live by June 2020. The IC realized cost savings by…

Implications of Recent Case Law on the Exclusive Remedy Doctrine

Bruce Hamilton and Elizabeth Ligon

The North Carolina Court of Appeals recently released two decisions that impact the state’s exclusive remedy doctrine. Under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 97-10.1, the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act provides an exclusive remedy for unintentional work-related injuries. This provision affords North Carolina employers “limited” liability and allows employers to more accurately calculate their exposures, unlike…