The Law Offices of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC
THE LAW OFFICES OF
Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC
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Hickory NC Personal Injury Law Blog

Fatal work zone crash in North Carolina

On Sept. 19 at approximately 4:30 a.m., three construction workers were paving Interstate 40 in Morgantown. The construction site was in an area near Highway 18. A westbound 2006 Ford F-150 pickup truck driven by a 37-year-old man allegedly hit all three workers, according to North Carolina Highway Patrol troopers. He was traveling in the lane that was closed for construction at the time of the accident.

One worker, age 43, was pronounced dead at the scene. A 34-year-old worker suffered serious injuries and was transported to Carolinas Medical Center. The third worker, who was 24, was transported to Grace Hospital for treatment of his injuries. He was later released. Alcohol and speed have both been ruled out as a possible cause of the accident. According to troopers, the reason why the pickup driver was in the closed lane is still unknown and the investigation is ongoing. The case was scheduled for presentation by the NCHP to the district attorney on Sept. 22.

Federal employees' rights in regard to workplace safety

North Carolina residents might not be aware of the serious ramifications of workplace accidents involving federal employees. According to the United States Department of Labor, thousands of federal workers are killed, injured or become ill each year as a result of work-related incidents.

While the total personal costs tied to these incidents is incalculable, one way to quantify the damages associated with such accidents is to look at the amount of compensation injured employees received via workers' compensation. For instance, in 2004, workers' compensation billings for federal employees nationwide totaled more than $2.3 billion, according to federal authorities.

North Carolina trooper injured in vehicle pursuit

Police in North Carolina are seeking a motorcyclist who reportedly refused to stop for a trooper on Sept. 1. The incident occurred on Lake Wheeler Road in Raleigh, and the pursuing trooper suffered a work injury after he was said to have lost control of his cruiser.

The events reportedly unfolded when the trooper attempted to pull over a motorcycle that was allegedly being operated in a careless and reckless manner. However, the motorcycle's rider failed to pull over as directed to by the trooper, and a chase ensued. According to various reports, the trooper lost control of his cruiser as the two vehicles approached the intersection of Lake Wheeler Road and Interstate 40. The trooper found his path blocked by a passenger vehicle turning onto Lake Wheeler Road from the interstate, and he struck the median as he attempted to avoid a collision.

Preventing workplace accidents in North Carolina

For many workers, going to work can prove fatal. Even though the National Council on Occupational Safety and Health reported there were 83 employees who died in workplace accidents in North Carolina in 2011, a report from the North Carolina Department of Labor reflects only 53 fatalities that year. The contradiction proves that a lack of safety exists in many workplace environments.

For the benefit of workers who are injured in workplace accidents, state law requires all business owners to purchase workers' compensation insurance coverage. Surprisingly, many companies in the state were reported to be without the insurance. By refusing to comply with the law, companies could face penalties, including incarceration.

Understanding workers' compensation benefits

The purpose of workers' compensation is to provide financial support for individuals who have been injured or become ill in connection with their work. Each state, including North Carolina, has its own workers' compensation laws that set forth coverage and other matters.

In general, workers' compensation covers any work-related illness or injury, including work injuries that are the result of either an employee's or employer's carelessness. However, there are some exceptions. States have the latitude to compel an injured worker to submit to alcohol and drug testing and can then deny compensation to employees whose test results show that they were under the influence when the incident occurred.

Workers' compensation in North Carolina

If you are a North Carolina worker who has been injured on the job, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits designed to pay your medical bills and replace a portion of your wages that are lost as a result of missing work. If someone other than your employer was responsible for your accident, you also may be able to sue the responsible party. Workers' compensation laws prohibit you from suing your employer in most cases, but they do not prevent you from suing a third party who contributed to your accident.

Certain occupations are more likely to suffer injuries on the job, such as construction and manufacturing. If you have suffered a work injury, you could be out of work for an extended period of time. In most cases, workers' compensation will pay for your medical treatment in addition to a disability payment based on your salary and a disability rating.

Worker killed in forklift accident at North Carolina mill

On Aug. 4, a 54-year-old Weyerhaeuser employee of seven and a half years was killed at the Greenville lumber mill on Hanrahan Road between Ayden and Grifton. The worker sustained life-threatening injuries due to the use of a forklift. To date, it is unclear as to whether he was actually operating the forklift during the incident.

OSHA is investigating the fatal accident; due to the fact that the man's death involved a forklift, the investigation will reportedly be seeking to establish several key safety practices. Those practices include whether the mill's forklifts are operated at safe speeds in designated travel paths; whether only authorized personnel operate the forklifts and several other related safety requirements. The plant had not been inspected since 2009. At that time, there were four violations at that plant, according to the OSHA website. The investigation process usually takes about three or four months, says an OSHA spokesperson.

Ten Important Steps To Do Prior To Separating From Your Spouse

1.  CONSULT WITH A FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY.  A knowledgeable attorney will advise you of the divorce process, your rights and help you develop a plan of action based on your wants and needs.  As with any marriage, each separation and divorce is accompanied by its unique facts and issues.  For this reason, avoid relying on the advice of your family and friends who think they know the best way for you to proceed based on their isolated experience.  While family and friends are important sources of support during this emotionally draining period, you need a professional that understands the ever changing laws of North Carolina in order to achieve the results you deserve.  For instance, leaving the marital home could be a huge mistake for your alimony claim, and depending on the facts of your cases, an attorney may be able to force your spouse out of the home.  The earlier you consult with an attorney, the more likely you are to avoid costly mistakes, which will affect your family and finances for years to come.  

North Carolina targets employers lacking workers' comp coverage

The North Carolina Industrial Commission recently initiated a concerted effort to identify and hold accountable employers who fail to obtain insurance coverage in accordance with the state's workers' compensation laws, reportedly. The Noncompliant Employer Targeting System, a tool employed by the commission, went online in April 2014.

NETS is designed to mine data from state agencies and produce a list of businesses that default in their duty to comply with compensation insurance rules, authorities said. Initially, officials filed charges for failing to maintain workers' compensation insurance against five employers in Guilford County. This came after a two-day operation in June to identify non-compliant employers, authorities said.

Trench collapse in North Carolina kills 1

A civilian employee in North Carolina was killed after an accident that occurred at Fort Bragg on July 24. Identities of both the worker and his employer have yet to be released. The worker was reportedly buried in a trench after it began to collapse at approximately 11 a.m. Search and rescue personnel from an area fire department arrived to offer assistance, but it quickly became apparent that they would be unable to reach the buried worker in time.

Investigators say that displaced dirt had fallen back into the trench, burying the worker. Reports state that he had been attempting to connect two pipes at the time. Response crews secured the sides of the trench in order to remove the dirt and excavate the decedent. The worker's family may wish to consider speaking with legal counsel regarding the viability of filing a claim for damages in court.

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Hickory, NC 28601

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Hickory, NC 28603

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