Truck driver shows use of clutch caused compensable disk herniation
Wolford 8, Wethington Lumber v. Derringer, No. 2009-SC-000620-WC (Ky. 08/26/10, unpublished).
Ruling: In an unpublished decision, the Kentucky Supreme Court held that a truck driver's back injury was compensable.
What it means: The strain of working in an awkward position or performing a motion repetitively may provide trauma sufficient to cause a compensable injury.
Summary: A truck driver was assigned to a truck with a manual transmission, which required him to operate a clutch pedal with his left foot frequently to shift gears. He alleged that he injured his back while driving the truck. He had difficulty operating the clutch and had to pull over and call his supervisor to get him. Testimony indicated that he had low back pain for two months, but he did not have previous leg pain. He did not seek medical treatment or miss work until after the day he had to pull over. The Kentucky Supreme Court held that the injury was compensable because the injury resulted from the driver's work.
The employer contended that the driver reached maximum medical improvement on the date the doctor assigned him a permanent impairment rating and that temporary total disability benefits should have ceased on that date. The court disagreed, stating that a worker's entitlement to TTD ends with a return to work or maximum medical improvement, whichever occurs first. The court terminated TTD benefits on the date the driver returned to work.
The employer also argued that it should not be required to pay medical bills because they were submitted more than 45 days after initiating treatment. The court noted that the driver directed medical providers to bill his health insurance because the employer had asserted that his condition was not work-related. This constitutes reasonable grounds for a provider's failure to submit bills to the employer.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
November 18, 2010
Copyright 2010© LRP Publications