North Carolina: Worker’s Brain Cancer Claim Related to Alleged X-Ray Exposure Fails

North Carolina: Worker’s Brain Cancer Claim Related to Alleged X-Ray Exposure Fails

In order to establish an occupational disease or injury claim, a North Carolina claimant is not required to prove that he or she was exposed to a specific quantity of a harmful agent.  A North Carolina appellate court reiterated the rule, however, that the claimant must establish that "the substance [to which he was exposed] is one to which the worker has a greater exposure on the job than does the public generally, either because of the nature of the substance itself or because the concentrations of the substance in the workplace are greater than concentrations to which the public generally is exposed."  Accordingly, the appellate court affirmed a finding by the state’s Industrial Commission that a worker failed to establish that his close proximity to high energy machinery during a 26-year career at his workplace exposed him to radiation that contributed to the development of brain cancer, where his own expert evidence admitted that, on the one hand, he did not know the amount of X-ray radiation to which the worker had been exposed and, further, that the machinery had been “shielded,” but on the other hand, testified that such exposure would have been greater than the general public.  In light of conflicting testimony that indicated little, if any X-rays were emitted by the machinery, the court found that the evidence supported the Commission’s finding that the worker did not have a greater exposure to radiation than the general public.

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.

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See File v. Norandal USA, Inc., 2014 N.C. App. LEXIS 181 (Feb. 18, 2014) [2014 N.C. App. LEXIS 181 (Feb. 18, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 52.03 [52.03]

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

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