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Dancer deemed ineligible for workers' compensation after shooting

In the event of a serious workplace injury, many employees receive aid from their employees to cover medical expenses and some lost wages while they recover. North Carolina law requires most employers to carry workers' compensation insurance to provide reassurance to their employees when they fall into this type of circumstance.

Unfortunately, one woman was denied workers' compensation coverage after being shot on the job, because she worked as an "independent contractor." According to a recent court ruling, the woman, who was an exotic dancer, did not meet the basic criteria to receive coverage.

The woman involved in this case was regularly employed at one particular club, but traveled to work at a number of other clubs throughout the Carolinas. While working at one establishment, the woman was struck by a stray bullet that was fired during a fight that broke out. As a result, she suffered serious internal injuries.

Though she was not a regular employee of the establishment where she was injured, the woman believes she is entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits. Despite the woman's efforts, the court denied her claim by saying her employment did not meet following criteria to establish employment:

  • The injured worker's duties are clearly defined by an employer
  • An employer provides equipment to complete a job
  • Means of compensation are clearly defined
  • Those working can be terminated from their role

During the injured worker's appeal in court, she made the case that the above conditions were met. Even though she was not a regular employee at this particular club, management had clear expectations for those who worked, established means of compensation and provided the necessary equipment.

As this case shows, workers' compensation cases can be quite complex, even when a case seems very straightforward. The hope is that workers injured on the job are clearly advised of their rights. This way, they may be able to obtain the funds they deserve through workers' compensation or some other third-party claim.

Source: Claims Journal, "South Carolina Erotic Dancer Not Covered by Workers' Comp," Michael Adams, Oct. 2, 2012

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