Claimant Falls. Claim Fails.

Congratulations to Scott McCain for an excellent trial result. In this case, the claimant, a 52 year old bus monitor, alleged multiple injuries as a result of exiting the back of school bus during a safety drill required by her employer. The accident was not disputed. The claimant alleged injuries to her left shoulder, left arm, left hand/wrist, left knee, left hip, cervical spine, lumbar spine, right foot, right shin, and right knee. She also alleged that the accident had resulted in depression. The petitioner’s treating physician recommended right knee surgery and testified during his deposition that that the work accident necessitated the need for surgery. On cross-examination the petitioner’s treating physician admitted to having no idea as to what type of trauma occurred to the right knee at the time of the accident. The petitioner’s treating physician rendered no causation opinions on body parts aside from the right knee. The respondent’s examining physician testified that the petitioner had multiple complaints of pain that were out of proportion to the objective findings and expressed concern about symptom magnification. He testified that objectively there was no pathology in the right knee that required treatment and recommended a full duty return to work.

The case proceeded to 19b/8a trial with the petitioner seeking a finding ordering the respondent to approve right knee surgery and to pay the petitioner $26,870.76 (49 3/7 weeks of TTD and medical expenses). The petitioner also sought an award of penalties and fees. The Arbitrator ruled in favor of the respondent, awarding no TTD and no prospective medical care. The Arbitrator awarded only $345.68 in medical expenses.

The Arbitrator determined that the petitioner was not credible, that she exhibited a pattern of untruthfulness, and that she failed to meet her burden of proof. The Arbitrator took note of numerous inconsistencies between the petitioner’s trial testimony and the information in the medical records submitted into evidence. He also noted several inconsistencies in the medical records themselves. The Arbitrator adopted the opinion of the respondent’s examining physician and was not persuaded by the testimony of the petitioner’s treating physician.

In this case, Attorney McCain showed how exploiting weakness in a causation opinion through effective cross-examination of a treating physician coupled with a command of the information contained in the treating medical records can be a recipe for success at trial. We look forward to obtaining similar results for all of our clients at Inman and Fitzgibbons. If you have any questions as to how we can help Illinois employers achieve similar results, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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