Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler

The Personal Injury, Worker’s Compensation and Social Security Disability Group of Sellers, Ayers, Dortch and Lyons.

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North Carolina Industrial Commission: pro-business or pro-worker?

As we have previously discussed, the North Carolina Senate committee’s recommendation of a conservative to take a seat on the Industrial Commission has raised questions and concerns among some. The Industrial Commission is a six-member board that makes decisions on workers’ compensation claims.

The Industrial Commission hears all kinds of workers’ compensation cases, such as workers who are injured on the job or who suffer from an occupational illness. They may also hear death claims.

Critics of the candidate’s nomination argue that the nominee is someone who is more likely to side with businesses. These critics argue that the placement of Charlton Allen on the board would mean that there would be four “pro-business” members and two comparatively “pro-worker” members.

But is arguing that there should be an equal amount of pro-business and pro-worker members on the Industrial Commission somehow missing the point? It would seem to suggest that hard evidence may not be given as much thought as preconceived biases in workers’ compensation disputes.

That is certainly the view of Allen, who is an attorney from Mooresville and was a republican contender for North Carolina’s House of Representatives in 2012. He has already been put through rigorous questioning by democratic senators during his committee hearing, at which he was ultimately recommended for the seat. They grilled him about his attitudes towards minorities, because of certain complaints from the Anti-Defamation League about the content of a newspaper for which he used to be editor.

The candidate stood firm against his critics, insisting that justice in each case is the priority.

Politics should play no role in the decisions of workers’ compensation cases. Unfortunately, as the controversy over this nomination illustrates, various biases may become influential factors during a workers’ compensation dispute. This is just one reason why workers’ compensation claimants may be wise to obtain legal counsel.

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