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Workers' compensation claim has consumed spouse's life

A young father worked for years for the Burger King corporation as a traveling consultant at several franchise establishments. The company supplied the vehicle and the fuel as he made his daily trips. Unfortunately, he became a victim of a fatal car accident caused by a distracted driver. The state ruled that the man's death qualified as a workplace accident and his spouse was to receive workers' compensation death benefits. Workers and their families in North Carolina may be interested in how this situation has consumed the widow's life.

The state where this family lives ruled that, since the husband traveled extensively for his job, and the company, Burger King, provided the company car, his vehicle was an integral part of his particular workplace. However, the private insurance company that would have to provide the payments fought the decision. In fact, the insurer appealed twice, and each time the state ruled in the widow's favor.

After the matter seemed to be settled, the insurer filed a lawsuit against the woman and her two young children in order to recoup the amounts paid to date and to ensure that it would not be liable for any expenses in the future. Burger King has not released any further statements, citing the reason that the matter is now for a court to consider, but the corporation had seemed to be in agreement that the man's survivors were qualified to receive benefits. The widow is worried that the state's court system has favored the rights of businesses in the past.

Admittedly, this case is not a typical situation, and the majority of cases do not take such a convoluted path. This widow and her representative are not confident that the case will be ruled in their favor since this is taking place in Texas, which has a different system and rules for workers' compensation cases. Workers in North Carolina who suffer an injury while working do have access to this state's workers' compensation insurance program. The majority of claims are processed without difficulty, however. If an employee encounters any obstacles or has questions, there are resources in the state that can provide assistance.

Source: apps.texastribune.org, "The Widow vs. the Insurer: A Wife's Fight for Her Family's Future", Jay Root, July 1, 2014

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