Attorney Mark Carter recently obtained a victory for our client at the Arbitration and Commission levels in a case involving Co-Respondents representing the same employer, but through different insurance carriers. In this case, the petitioner sustained an accepted accident in November 2004 after falling on steps at work and was treated for a low back strain. The Respondent accommodated his temporary light duty restrictions and he did not miss work. He was released from treatment in March 2005. In February 2006, the petitioner fell again while carrying a 100-pound dresser and injured his back. The petitioner subsequently underwent three lumbar surgeries and a recommendation for continued treatment.
In support of our defense, our expert opined that the petitioner’s November 2004 accident was not the cause of his current condition and was not the cause of the need for three back surgeries and future medical treatment. The co-Respondent obtained multiple IME opinions that attributed the November 2004 accident to the petitioner’s need for multiple back surgeries years later.
The Arbitrator found the opinions of our IME doctor, who testified live at trial, and the treating physicians to be more persuasive than the co-respondent’s IME doctor’s opinions. The Arbitrator found that the petitioner’s lumbar injuries sustained in November 2004 were superseded by his later lumbar injuries in February 2006 and that while the petitioner did not have complete relief of his symptoms following the November 2004 date of accident, he continued working and stopped seeking medical care four months later. Moreover, he did not have work restrictions and was carrying a 100-pound cabinet in his subsequent accident when he tripped and fell. The petitioner testified at trial that he had more severe symptoms following his February 2006 accident, including more problems with his leg and foot.
The Arbitrator ordered the co-respondent (2nd accident) to pay 210 – 4/7 weeks of TTD benefits and all medical bills ($160,000+) following the February 2006 date of accident. The Arbitrator ordered our client to pay 1 – 2/7 weeks of TTD benefits for a brief period following the November 2004 date of accident. The Arbitrator denied a penalties petition against our client. The Arbitrator also found that the Petitioner failed to prove that a spinal cord stimulator was reasonable and necessary medical care to relieve the effect of the Petitioner’s work injuries.
On appeal at the Commission found that the Petitioner failed to prove that he was temporarily totally disabled for a 9-day period following his first accident and that there was no basis for the Arbitrator’s award, reversing the 9-day TTD award. The Commission otherwise adopted the decision of the Arbitrator against the co-Respondent. The Commission also affirmed the Arbitration award denying a spinal cord stimulator
The case is currently pending at the Circuit Court, pursuant to the appeals of the Petitioner and Co-Respondent.