North Carolina: Delayed Plane and Busy Christmas Season Are Insufficient to Support FedEx Driver’s Stroke Injury Claim

A North Carolina appellate court has affirmed a decision of the state’s Industrial Commission that denied the workers’ compensation claim of a 59-year-old FedEx courier who, after two hours of work one day, suffered a stroke brought about by a carotid dissection (a tear in the blood vessel).  Plaintiff had introduced evidence that his typical duties had been interrupted on the day he suffered the stroke: it was the last day for deliveries before Christmas, a plane delivering packages to the FedEx facility was late, throwing off the courier’s normal schedule, and that his normal routine of delivering packages according to usual prioritizing had been suspended.  The full Commission concluded that the courier’s duties were not a significant factor in his development of the carotid dissection and did not cause the carotid dissection that led to the stroke.  There was evidence that late planes were relatively common, that in one sense the extra time allowed the courier to sort his packages and trade deliveries with other drivers.  It was not sufficient for the courier to point to the delayed plane, the busy time of year, or the existence of packages on the truck's floor.  He was required to offer evidence as to why such circumstances might have resulted in his injury. The Commission’s findings were supported by competent evidence.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is a leading commentator and expert on the law of workers’ compensation.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to lexis.com.

See Hill v. Federal Express Corp., 2014 N.C. App. LEXIS 684 (July 1, 2014) [2014 N.C. App. LEXIS 684 (July 1, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 130.05 [130.05]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.

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