Case name: Thomas v. Caterpillar, 17 ILWCLB 7 (Ill. Ind. Comm. 2008).
The Illinois Industrial Commission affirmed an arbitrator's award of 16 weeks of temporary total disability benefits to the claimant, who injured his left knee in a work accident.
What it means:
In awarding TTD benefits, it is irrelevant that the claimant has stopped working for the employer or that he is playing recreational sports while on light duty. Where the doctor is aware of the claimant's activities and continues to keep the claimant at a sedentary level, a TTD award is warranted.
The claimant underwent surgery for a work-related left knee condition. He was taken off work starting that day and was not returned to light-duty work for two months. At that time, the doctor noted the claimant was doing well, had played doubles tennis, and could perform sedentary duties.
After playing two doubles matches on a Saturday, the claimant experienced increased soreness and returned to physical therapy. The arbitrator found the claimant entitled to 16 weeks of TTD, until the date the claimant's doctor found him at maximum medical improvement.
In awarding TTD, the arbitrator noted it was irrelevant that the claimant had stopped working for the defendant in 2005 or that he was playing doubles tennis while on light duty. Furthermore, the doctor was aware of the claimant's tennis habits. He continued to keep the claimant at a sedentary level until the MMI date.
Upon review, the commission affirmed and adopted the decision of the arbitrator.
March 26, 2009
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