Parson’s Presumption Pt. 3
In June we wrote with an update on Wilkes v. City of Greenville dealing with the Parson’s Presumption. In Wilkes the Supreme Court of North Carolina affirmed that a Plaintiff in a Workers’ Compensation claim is entitled to a presumption that future medical treatment is related to the compensable injury. In this regard, the employer had to prove that the medical treatment was not.
On July 20, 2017, Governor Cooper signed into law House Bill 26 which stated that an employee should bear the burden of proving that future “symptoms or conditions…not enumerated on a Form 60 or 63…are causally related to the compensable injury.” https://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2017/Bills/House/PDF/H26v5.pdf. This changed N.C.G.S. 97-82(b) to specify that an award from the Industrial Commission or an acceptance via a Form 60 or 63 only creates a presumption for medical treatment for an injury or condition identified on the form or in the award. If a Plaintiff believes another injury or condition is related the Plaintiff may request a hearing a prove that it is.
This should provide finality to interpreting the Parson’s Presumption. Only those injuries or conditions deemed compensable via a Form 60 or 63 accepting a claim or spelled out in an award from the Industrial Commission are entitled to a presumption that medical treatment is compensable. Other injuries may be compensable but a Plaintiff will have to prove as much in a hearing.