Court ruled that by filing a Form 60 the City of Greenville had accepted his injuries as work-related and, therefore, Wilkes was entitled to the presumption that the additional medical treatments he sought for his symptoms of anxiety and depression were directly related to his compensable injury (the so-called Parsons presumption).
"Our case law since Perez has made clear that the Parsons presumption applies even where the injury or symptoms for which additional medical treatment is being sought is not the precise injury originally deemed compensable," the Court ruled.
The parties filing the amici briefs contend the Form 60 filed by Greenville expressly limited the injuries accepted as those sustained to Wilkes's "ribs, neck, legs and entire left side." They argue North Carolina appellate courts have consistently held that the Parsons presumption does not extend to alleged injuries or conditions which have not been accepted by defendants or ruled compensable by the Industrial Commission.
"To allow an employee to recover benefits for a new condition without the production of medical evidence documenting a causal link would violate one of the most basic tenets of civil law and inappropriately transition the Workers' Compensation Act to the field of general health insurance," one of the briefs states.
The employer groups also warn that if the appeal court's decision is allowed to stand it would drive employers to contest even seemingly acceptable claims out of fear that if they accept a claim they may be accepting unforeseeable liability.
"Since the inception of North Carolina's workers' compensation system, establishment of a causal relationship between an employee's injury and his or her employment has been a fundamental requirement to receive workers' compensation benefits,' they say, in urging the Supreme Court to intervene in this matter.