North Carolina Senate Bill 174: How it Affects You
You should be aware that there are some important things going on at the General Assembly that could impact your worker’s compensation claim. Yesterday, The North Carolina Senate passed Senate Bill 174. This bill would:
-Eliminate two types of expedited hearings: medical motions, and requests to reinstate benefits. The bill would leave only one type of expedited hearing in place: motions to suspend benefits. It is incredibly unfair to take away the two types of expedited hearings that can be used by injured workers, while leaving in place the expedited hearings that can be used against them. This bill would affect you because, if it becomes law, the only way to we could go before the Industrial Commission for simple matters (like requests for second opinions, requests to approve physical therapy, or requests to compel approval of prescription refills) would be to have a full evidentiary hearing, which typically are not scheduled for months.
-Eliminate our ability to subpoena many types of documents. This would affect you because it would make it difficult for me to procure copies of anything we might need to procure from the defense (such as surveillance videos of you, your wage history with your employer, witness statements, etc.)
-Require that claimants pay half of all costs associated with hearings. This would affect you because if I need to ask the Commission to intervene in your case for any reason, either you or I would have to pay fees associated with it (for example, paying your doctor and a court reporter several hundred dollars to testify as to why you need a surgery, or a medication refill, etc.)
The bill has now been referred to the North Carolina House of Representatives. If you are a workers comp claimant and feel this bill would adversely affect you please consider contacting your member of the N.C. House and telling them we oppose Senate Bill 174. You may find your member of the House at the link below:
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