New Decision in regards to Workers’ Compensation and Attendant Care Benefits
January 21, 2017
In a 22 page opinion, a panel of the Court of Appeals recently clarified the rulings on attendant care expenses in the area of Workers’ Compensation. The case is Thompson v. International Paper Co., (COA15-1383). The issue was whether the employee required attendant care services for his severe burn injuries after a specific date. The Court of Appeals, in a decision written by Judge Donna Stroud, ruled that the Industrial Commission had erred in concluding that the employee did not require attendant care services after this date. The Court ruled that although N.C. Gen. Stat 97-2(19) does require these services be prescribed by a health care provider, an actual written prescription for attendant care services is not required.
In severe work place injuries, sometimes the injured worker may not be able to take care of themselves when they return home. Attendant care services can take many different forms, but most often involve outside nursing assistance that comes into the home for some time each day to help an injured worker with the aspects of daily living that they can no longer perform for themselves. This might include providing medications, cooking meals, performing exercises, or giving a bath. In some extreme circumstances, twenty four hour service may be needed. The workers’ compensation insurance company can be required by the Industrial Commission to pay for this care if it is medically necessary due to an on-the-job injury. We have had a number of clients over the years whose family members provided attendant care. Often, the insurance company has taken the position that since the care is being provided by a family member, that they are not responsible for paying. We have successfully fought this position and won settlements wherein the family member is paid an hourly rate that is comparable to what it would cost to hire an outside vendor to come into the home and provide the services.
How much care an injured worker needs, the level of care (RN, LPN, or sitting service) that is needed, and how much that care is worth are all questions that need to be answered. Some of these cases are extremely complex and our firm has had cases where issues continued to arise years after the original injury.
The attorneys at GAY JACKSON & McNALLY, LLP have years of experience representing injured workers. We also have experience in fighting insurance companies for attendant care services. If a worker is badly injured at work and needs help at home, then we will fight the insurance company to pay for that care. The initial consultation is free and our firm does this work on a contingency basis so that there is no fee due unless we recover.
If you are a family member were injured on the job, GAY JACKSON & McNALLY, LLP is here to provide you with the very best possible legal representation and advice. If you need representation for a workplace injury, personal injury or wrongful death, call 919-269-2234 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.