Employer Required to Pay for Handicapped Accessible Housing

In a recent North Carolina case (Tinajero vs. Balfour Betty Infrastructure, Inc. and Zurich American Insurance Company), a worker was rendered a quadriplegic because of a workplace accident. The issue in the case was whether the employer’s insurance company was required to pay for the rental cost for reasonable handicapped accessible housing.

The facts were that the employee didn’t have a place that was amenable to handicapped accessible housing. The defendants (the employer and the employer’s insurance company) had been paying for the employee to stay in a nursing home facility. The North Carolina Industrial Commission found that it was not in the employee’s best medical interest to be in a nursing home or long-term facility. They also found that the defendants couldn’t condition their right to payment on the employee being in the nursing home because of their finding that the home would not be in the employee’s best interest.

Some of the concerns were that the nursing home was prone to infection and made the worker depressed. The defendant found a handicapped accessible apartment where he wanted to stay, and where medical care could be provided. There was also testimony of a certified life care planner which affirmed that the apartment was the better option.

The Commission did find that the defendants were not required to buy a handicapped accessible vehicle for the worker but that they did need to pay for having a vehicle (bought and paid for by the employee) made handicapped accessible. The defendants also offered to pay for public transportation so the employee could see his doctors.

The Court also awarded attorney fees, and required the defendants to pay for the cost of preparing the life care plan.

Contact a Norfolk Workers’ Compensation Attorney for the Help You Need

Many workplace accident cases are pretty straightforward. But some require a lawyer who will fight to get you all the benefits you should, including special benefits if you suffer a disability. Attorney Joe Miller at Joe Miller Law, Ltd., has been fighting for injured victims in North Carolina and in Virginia for over 25 years and has represented thousands of clients. Don’t handle complex cases on your own. Contact Joe Miller Esq. by calling him today at (888) 694-1671.