Deputy sheriff can't secure medical benefits for back problems
Case name: Valesano v. Iron County, 23 MIWCLR 193 (Mich. W.C.A.C. 2009).
The Michigan Workers' Compensation Appellate Commission reversed the magistrate's decision awarding medical benefits to a deputy sheriff who alleged he was injured during a car chase.
What it means:
Where the employee offers no medical depositions, the medical records do not establish a causal link between his injury and his multiple back pathologies, and the employee's doctor is not able to draw a causal link between the accident and a low back pathology, the employee has failed to provide requisite evidence supporting a benefit award.
A deputy sheriff was driving his police vehicle trying to apprehend an individual with mental health issues when the individual turned and intentionally struck the deputy's car with his truck. The deputy's car was totaled, and his head struck the roof of the vehicle, leaving a permanent impact. The county argued that the deputy's injuries did not result from this incident, as there was evidence the deputy had preexisting conditions. The deputy was the only witness to testify.
Prior to the accident, the deputy had never been treated for back pain. The limited medical evidence did not link the deputy's low back problems to his work accident. He offered no medical depositions, and the medical records that were admitted did not establish a causal link between his injury and his multiple low back pathologies. In fact, the only causation comment contained in the medical records was detrimental to the deputy's case.
The commission's opinion reflected that even though the deputy had testified, a lay person "cannot causally relate low back pathology . . . to a specific injury." It emphasized that an entitlement to medical benefits must be determined by a competent medical opinion. As the deputy's doctor was not able to draw a causal link between the accident and a low back pathology, the deputy was not entitled to medical benefits.
Read more at the WORKERSCOMP ForumTM homepage.
November 16, 2009
Copyright 2009© LRP Publications