North Carolina Nurse Receives Workers’ Comp After Lay Off

Posted on Feb 27, 2009
Can you receive North Carolina workers' compensation if you file a claim after you are laid off by your employer and no longer work for the company? This week the North Carolina Court of Appeals said "yes" when it upheld the decision to give benefits to a woman who filed her workers' comp claim after she was fired from her job at Sara Lee Hosiery. In this case, it does not appear that the woman filing the claim was fully aware that she was disabled until she tried to seek work in other areas after her layoff.

In prior years, the woman reported her work-related injuries to both her supervisor and the organization's nurse. Due to the repetitive rigors of her job, she was displaying symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome before her layoff was announced. Records showed that she saw a doctor about her condition in 1991 and 1992 and told her employer about her wrist pain until she was let go in 1994.

When, a short time later, she lost her job, she tried a number of different careers in different fields, including training to become a nurse's assistant. However, her chronic injuries from her last job prevented her from finding new types of work that required any type of hand and wrist movement, including lifting. When she was unable to find work, she filed a workers' compensation claim with her old employer, where she developed her carpal tunnel issues originally. All told, the North Carolina Industrial Commission reported that she was entitled to monetary benefits due to the evidence provided about the case.

The doctor who testified in the case confirmed that the woman was permanently restricted from certain movements such as repetitive pushing, grabbing, squeezing, pinching, or pulling movements - movements common on production lines. He testified that her old job was the main contributor to this condition.

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