William Smith is a long-time employee of a paper mill in Roanoke Rapids, NC. His job required him to knock hard deposits off of a hot furnace with a long rod. The steel rod often hit the side of the furnace door. The blows from the rod sent shock waves up Mr. Smith’s arm. After many years on the job, Mr. Smith’s hand was weakened and he required surgery on his elbow.
Mr. Smith asked Valerie Johnson and Drew Culler to represent him in his workers’ compensation case. We went to the paper mill with Mr. Smith and observed another employee doing the job that injured Mr. Smith. We asked a specialist who is trained to look at job tasks to evaluate the job. We went to a hearing in Farmville where the company agreed with the way that Mr. Smith described his harmful job duties.
After the hearing, it was time to take the testimony from Mr. Smith’s doctors. Because the injured employee has the burden of proof, we had to prove that Mr. Smith had an accident, or that he developed an occupational disease. Both of the doctors said that Mr. Smith’s job caused him to develop an occupational condition. Both doctors agreed that the condition caused Mr. Smith to be out of work. The deputy commissioner who heard the testimony found in Mr. Smith’s favor and awarded him benefits for his medical treatment and time out of work.
Often justice takes time. Mr. Smith has been out of work for more than a year. We are happy that we helped him to overturn the company’s decision to deny him the benefits that he should have received.
If you or a loved one suffers an injury at work, or develops an occupational condition, call the workers’ compensation specialists at Johnson & Groninger PLLC at 919-240-4054. We are here to help you.