Palm Beach Co. v. Tartar, No. 2009-CA-002309-WC (Ky. Ct. App. 07/09/10, unpublished).
Ruling: In an unpublished opinion, the Kentucky Court of Appeals decided that a seamstress was entitled to benefits for a cervical condition even though the original administrative law judge only assigned permanent impairment to her carpal tunnel syndrome. The original ALJ acknowledged that she may have a work-related cervical condition.
What it means: An injured worker who reopens her workers' compensation case for new medical treatment for a condition acknowledged by an ALJ may be entitled to benefits even if the condition was not assigned a permanent disability rating.
Summary: A seamstress developed a knot in her right shoulder while pulling material through a sewing machine. She was diagnosed with a cervical condition and carpal tunnel syndrome. An ALJ assigned a permanent disability rating for her carpal tunnel syndrome and acknowledged that she may have had a cervical condition related to her repetitive activities at work. Years later, the seamstress sought treatment for her cervical condition, and her company disputed the treatment. The Kentucky Court of Appeals held that the seamstress was entitled to compensation because the cervical condition resulted from repetitive movement while working.
The company argued that only medical expenses related to the seamstress's permanent disability, carpal tunnel syndrome, were compensable. The court pointed to a Kentucky Supreme Court holding that when a claimant suffers a work-related impairment, the employer is liable for medical benefits even if the impairment does not rise to the level of permanent disability.
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September 27, 2010
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