An injured worker who can’t prove what exactly caused the injury is not entitled to benefits, according to a recent ruling issued by the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Sonya Chaffins, a former employee of Tar Heel Capital Corporation, filed for workers’ compensation after an injury to her shoulder on the job in 2010. Chaffins had suffered a severe injury in 2002 that – despite eleven surgeries – continued to cause her legs to sometimes buckle. In 2010, Chaffins’ knees buckled and she fell and grabbed a car door handle, twisting her shoulder. Tar Heel Capital appealed the ruling, citing testimony from Chaffins’ doctor who told the court Chaffins’ current physical pain was just as likely caused by something else as it was likely to be caused by her on-the-job accident. This week, the court of appeals overturned the initial ruling in Chaffins’ favor, agreeing with lawyers for Tar Heel Capital who argued the doctor’s testimony was not enough to prove Chaffins’ case.
Many cases are lost because the doctor testifies that it was “50-50” whether the injury caused the condition. Injured workers should know that it is not enough to have the doctor say “possibly” or “could have” in order to prove that a medical condition was caused by an on-the-job accident resulting in injury.
If you are a worker injured on the job, please don’t hesitate to contact CJG using the contact form on this pge or by calling our toll-free number, 1-919-240-4054. Valerie Johnson is a board-certified specialists in workers’ compensation. Together they have helped hundreds of injured workers to get the medical care and compensation they deserve.