Every state in our country has different laws in regards to workers compensation and what is considered an injury or disability. For example, in North Carolina permanent total disability is rarely given out as the criteria is rather strict. This is because it entitles an injured worker to a lifetime of benefits which is expensive for both insurance companies and the state. In North Carolina, a worker needs to prove that their injury is a result of a work related injury and have at least one of the following conditions:
- A loss of both hands, arms, legs, feet, eyes, or any combination of two listed parts.
- A spinal injury which results in paralysis of both legs, both arms, or the trunk.
- Severe closed head or brain injuries.
- Second or Third degree burns on at least thirty three percent of your body.
This may seem strict, but many states have similar laws. Ones that don’t are becoming increasingly strict. A large issue with these laws lay in deciding what a direct result of a work injury was. Even if one of these criteria are met, it needs to be shown that nothing was pre-existing. The pre-existing conditions that you may or may not have definitely make a difference when you are attempting to claim permanent total disability.
In Idaho recently, there was a case seen which showed that pre-existing conditions may cause people to have their permanent total disability denied. A worker had tripped over another co-worker’s dog (which was allowed on premises) and fractured a cerebral vertebrae and required surgery. Eventually her doctor suggested sedentary work, which the office said there was no available position. While she applied for permanent total disability, she had suffered multiple injuries prior to this, including a shoulder injury and two other spinal fractures, one of which required surgery. She was also diagnosed with a degenerative spinal disorder. With these conditions taken into account which were not work related, she was denied the permanent total disability through workers compensation.
If you have been hurt at work but have prior injuries, call Collier Law Firm for your free consultation. You deserve to have someone in your corner who will fight for you, and for that you can count on Collier!