Martha W. Surles
Martha is a partner in the litigation practice area of Hedrick Gardner’s Charlotte office. Her previous experience encompasses over 30 years defending clients in civil matters in State and Federal Court, including automobile, premises and products liability claims, and representing insurance carriers and employers in workers’ compensation claims. For the last 20 years, she has devoted her practice almost exclusively to workers’ compensation defense and alternative dispute resolution.
Martha represents some of the largest insurance carriers and self-insured businesses in the State, litigates matters before the North Carolina Industrial Commission, and handles appeals to the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. Her practice involves all areas of workers’ compensation defense, including: injury by accident and specific traumatic incident claims; occupational disease cases such as repetitive motion disorders, chemical exposure, cancer and other complex disease claims; and matters involving the trucking and transportation industries. She tailors her handling of each case to meet the client’s needs and goals, whether by early resolution or strong defense at hearing. Martha also serves as a mediator in workers’ compensation cases, using her background and experience to assist the participants in understanding each other’s viewpoints.
She is an active member of the Mecklenburg County Bar Association, where she has served on the Lawyers Referral and the Grievance Committees; the North Carolina Bar Association, where she previously served on the Workers’ Compensation Bar Council; the North Carolina State Bar; the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys, where she served as a member of the Board of Directors from 2003 to 2007; and the Defense Research Institute, where she is a member of the Women In Law Committee.
Martha was recognized as Lawyers’ Weekly’s Charlotte, North Carolina 2013 Lawyer of the Year in the field of workers’ compensation, representation of employers, as well as named a NC Lawyers Weekly 2013 Leader in the Law. She was also named one of Business Leader Magazine’s Women Extraordinaire for 2009. She was also selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2012-2016 in the field of Workers’ Compensation Law. Martha maintains an AV rating with Martindale Hubbell for her skill and integrity in the legal profession, and is registered in their Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers.
Martha founded Hedrick Gardner’s Women to Women initiative, a program focused on providing business development, mentoring and leadership training.