The North Carolina General Assembly recently passed significant changes to NC workers’ (workmans) compensation law. This is the first of several posts that will describe the changes and likely effects on injured North Carolina workers.
The Legislature passed a new section 97-12.1, entitled “Willful misrepresentation in applying for employment.” This section provides that compensation, including weekly payments as well as medical benefits, are not allowed if the employer proves that the employee “knowingly and willfully” lied about his physical condition, the employer relied on the employee’s lie in offering the employee a job, and there is a relationship between the lie and the injury or occupational disease.
For example, if a NC employee has a prior back surgery, and denies this on his employment application, then the employee reinjures that weakened area of his back on the job, benefits will likely be denied. There is no obligation that an employee volunteer information about injuries or conditions, but the employee should be honest if asked. This measure went into effect on Friday, June 24, 2011, when Governor Purdue signed the legislation, and only applies to injuries that arise after that date.
Please contact me for a free consultation with a NC workers compensation attorney if you have questions about this provision or other areas of NC workers’ comp law.