Legal Question in Workers Comp in North Carolina

What is it worth???

I have finally received from the Court a Favorable Decision toward Disability. After 3 back surgeries, I am looking to settle with WC. What sort of compensation should I be looking for? I have not seen the result of my surgery which was a fusion of L4L5, but I already am t 15% after 2 surgeries.

Asked on 7/11/06, 5:35 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

George Lennon Lennon, Camak & Bertics, PLLC
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Re: What is it worth???

The minimum rating for a lumbar fusion in the Industrial Commission Rating Guide is 25%. See "links" at www.ncworkcomp.com. You have a right to a second opinion on the rating. GS 97-27. You may also have a right to either ongoing benefits or a wage loss claim. If you have not done so already, get an experienced attorney. After multiple surgeries, settling a comp case without a lawyer is like home surgery - don't do it.

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7/12/06, 1:24 pm
Lynn Coleman Attorney-Mediator
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Re: What is it worth???

Look at www.comp.state.nc.us (NC Industrial Commission web site). You will find links to the Rating Guide and the NC General Statutes there. NCGS 97-31 provides 300 weeks for total loss of use of the back/spine; you would multiply 300 weeks times your percentage. 15% would be 45 weeks times your comp rate. If you "clincher" your claim (as opposed to a Form 21 settlement based upon your rating), the insurance carrier would also offer you an amount for future medical expenses in exchange for a release.

All WC settlements are subject to Industrial Commission approval. Please check with your retained attorney or an attorney in your area concerning your specific case. The decision to settle a case involving the back can be complex and should not be made without specific legal advice. You are also entitled to get second opinions regarding disability ratings at the insurance company's expense.

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7/11/06, 10:13 pm
Stephen Camak Lennon, Camak & Bertics, PLLC
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Re: What is it worth???

The answer to your question depends on many facts not given in your post. Your weekly compensation rate, your work status, your age, your education, future medical expenses and other variables should be considered. The 15% rating you mentioned might not even be your best recovery under the law. You really need to consult an attorney in this area for more specific information before signing anything, and at least wait until you have reached maximum medical improvement from your injury. More information/links can be found at ncdisability.com. In any event, good luck!

S. Neal Camak, Esq.

Law Offices of George W. Lennon

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7/17/06, 8:18 pm

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