On January 25, 2023, the Workers’ Compensation Court entered a judgment after a full trial, in favor of a 39-year-old emergency room technician finding that her neck surgery was a compensable “Wear & Tear” occupational exposure entitling her to a significant workers’ compensation award.
Like most occupational exposure orthopedic claims, she had alleged that her repetitive work duties during years of employment were legally a contributing factor to her medical condition and need for cervical spine surgery. The employer hospital fully denied her claim and made no offer of any type of settlement.
After a full trial including testimony from our client, her treating neurosurgeon, and both medical experts of the parties, the Judge found that the credible evidence submitted supported her allegations and found completely in her favor.
There was no question that our client was very hardworking and that her job duties were physically demanding and repetitively placed stress on her spine which ultimately took a toll on her or at least contributed to the worsening of her condition leading to the need for the major surgery she underwent.
Even though she returned to work, she was entitled to a significant permanent partial disability award.
Most Wear & Tear claims are contested and many of them result in settlements. This case was an example of the workers’ compensation insurance carrier refusing to consider any type of a compromise settlement as is usually the case under the provisions of Section 20 of our Statute where a lump sum payment can be made in return for a dismissal such as frequently occurs in motor vehicle accidents in the civil courts. The Judge carefully reviewed all of the evidence that was submitted and issued a very detailed opinion in support of his conclusion that the credible evidence presented required a finding of compensability under the law.
Our client will now have not only a significant tax-free financial recovery, but she will also have the right to re-open her claim within two years of the last date of benefits paid for any further worsening of her condition regardless of where she may work in the future.
Our client is still working, but studying to be a nurse in hopefully a less strenuous area of medicine. This is also an example of a relatively young person having a significant compensable wear and tear spinal claim where most of these claims happen to individuals 50 years and older who already have some level of degeneration which can be a factor in predisposing them to a more significant end result often requiring the very type of surgery that our client underwent.
To learn more about these special Wear & Tear claims, feel free to contact us on a no charge basis. If anyone can help you, we can.