(CN) - A North Carolina appeals court revived the claims of a grieving mother whose son died after a being driven into a trash pile while working at a landfill.
Travis Bryan Kidd was working for WorkForce Staffing Inc. as a spotter at the Cleveland County landfill. His job was to help dump trucks and other vehicles make their way around the terrain.
Barry Blaine Pearson, a full-time landfill employee, accidentally drove a trash compactor over Kidd, driving his body into a pile of trash.
Kidd was hospitalized but died from his injuries later that day.
WorkForce paid his mother, Sheila Gregory, all the benefits to which she was entitled under the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act.
Gregory later sued Pearson and Cleveland County for negligence and wrongful death, but a county judge dismissed the case after finding that the state workers' compensation act covered all of her claims.
The North Carolina Court of Appeals found otherwise last week because Kidd was not a county employee.
The county's staffing agreement with WorkForce "indicates the county intended to avoid worker's compensation liability by forming an independent contracting relationship with the temporary workers rather than an employment relationship," Judge Robert N. Hunter Jr. wrote for a three-member panel.
"Because the county chose not to establish an employment relationship with Kidd, it eschews both the liabilities and the protections of the workers' compensation act," he added.
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