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Parsons Presumption Pt. 2

Wilkes v. City of Greenville

Back in October of 2015, we posted a blog (https://www.smithlawfirm.biz/2015/10/22/parsons-presumption/) dealing with the Parson’s Presumption as interpreted by the North Carolina Court of Appeals in Wilkes v. City of Greenville. That case has since come before the North Carolina Supreme Court and they have issued their decision.

As a refresher – the Parson’s Presumption is the presumption that once a Plaintiff in a Workers’ Compensation Claim has established that an injury is compensable, future medical treatment to resolve or lesson the period of disability related to that accident is compensable. The Plaintiff does not have to reprove compensability every time a new symptom presents itself. Defendants are able to rebut the presumption if a doctor opines that, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, the new symptom is not related.

In the Wilkes case, Mr. Wilkes was injured in a car accident and suffered numerous physical injuries including cracked ribs and a concussion. Later, after Defendants accepted the claim as compensable Mr. Wilkes requested medical treatment for tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and depression he alleged to be a result of the compensable accident. Defendants did not grant his request for additional treatment and the case came before the Industrial Commission. The Court of Appeals held, and the Supreme Court affirmed, that Mr. Wilkes was entitled to a presumption that his new claims were related to the compensable injury.

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