Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler

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

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April 2016 Archives

Relief from pain in the North Carolina Workers' Compensation System

What happens if you have healed from your workers compensation injury, but you still have severe pain? Say for instance you fell from a ladder and tore your ACL. After surgery and weeks of physical therapy, you are nearly healed, but you still have severe pain that keeps you from doing your job. The North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act provides that your employer may be required to offer you medical treatment that lessens your period of disability, brings about a cure of your injury, or provides you "relief."

Unsuccessful Work Attempt

According to the unsuccessful work attempt rule, employment activity does not demonstrate an ability to engage in substantial gainful activity if, after working no more than six months, an individual either stops work or reduces it below substantial gainful activity level for reasons related to his/her mental and physical impairments. This applies to both employees and self-employed individuals. To be recognized an unsuccessful work attempt must follow a significant break in continuity of work; however, this break does not have to be due to the effects of a medical impairment.

Why was my workers' compensation claim denied?

Work-related injuries can happen in any workplace across North Carolina. In general, a person who suffers one of these injuries will be able to secure workers' compensation benefits to help cover the cost of medical treatment and time away from work that may be necessary.

SSR 83-34

Social Security Ruling 83-34 states that self-employment will be considered substantial gainful activity if the individual renders significant services to or receives a substantial income from the business. It is important to provide detailed information about self-employment activities to your attorney so that this can be fully evaluated.

SSR 83-33

Social Security Ruling 83-33 states that for work to be considered substantial gainful activity it must meet one of three tests. The first test focuses on accountable earnings. It is often possible that out of pocket medical care can be deducted in many situations from accountable earnings. The second and third tests for substantial gainful activity focus on comparison with the work performed to that of unimpaired people in similar business and occupations.

Pay attention: April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

While every driver is encouraged to stay alert and put their phone away whenever they are behind the wheel, the tragic fact is that this doesn't always happen. Whenever we get on the road and look at the drivers around us, it doesn't take long before we spot someone looking down at a phone in their lap, holding the phone in front of them or absent-mindedly chatting away on it.

Pay attention: April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

While every driver is encouraged to stay alert and put their phone away whenever they are behind the wheel, the tragic fact is that this doesn't always happen. Whenever we get on the road and look at the drivers around us, it doesn't take long before we spot someone looking down at a phone in their lap, holding the phone in front of them or absent-mindedly chatting away on it.

Pain Medication

In many situations, use of prescribed pain medication may significantly diminish an individual's pain; however, it may also result in adverse side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness or disorientation that make it difficult for an individual to function. If this is the situation you face it is essential that your treating physicians document the side effects caused by prescribed medication and their effect on you.

Study reveals link between sleep apnea and worker safety

When you get up to go to work in the morning, you might need a caffeine boost or a little extra time to wake yourself up. This is not all that uncommon, but if you find that you are sleepy throughout the day most days, you could be suffering from sleep apnea.

Examination of the Spine

When a physician checks your spine this should include a detailed description of gait (how you walk), range of motion of the spine, straight leg raising test from the sitting and lying down position, motor and sensory abnormalities, muscle spasms and deep tendon reflexes. Please be aware that a physician will observe how you get on and off the examination table and determine if you have difficulty walking on your heels or toes. In addition, the doctor may measure the size of your lower extremities to determine if there has been atrophy (muscle loss). It's important to make sure the physician is aware of each and every aspect of the problems you are experiencing so that you receive a fair examination. Regular treatment with a physician after a long period of time often provides the best evidence of functional limitations that support a disability claim.

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