Cosmetologist's allergies, lack of vision problems cloud claim for benefits
Case name: Hennigar v. Second Injury Fund, No. 0-727/09-0343 (Iowa Ct. App. 01/20/11).
The Iowa Court of Appeals held that a cosmetologist was not entitled to benefits from the Second Injury Fund.
What it means: In Iowa, a worker is not entitled to benefits from the Second Injury Fund if her first injury did not result in a permanent loss of use and her second injury was to her body as a whole rather than a scheduled member.
Summary: A cosmetologist experienced various conditions in both of her eyes, including dry eye, conjunctivitis, and dacrocystitis. She said she got bleach and coloring in her eye and had surgeries on both eyes. She also experienced contact dermatitis on her upper extremities. She sought benefits from the Second Injury Fund, alleging that her eye condition was a first qualifying injury and her contact dermatitis was a second qualifying injury. The Iowa Court of Appeals held that the cosmetologist was not entitled to benefits from the fund.
Four doctors specializing in ophthalmology and eye surgery opined that the cosmetologist did not have any impairment, loss of use, or permanent disability in regard to her eye condition. The doctors said that allergies caused her conjunctivitis and she had no visual problems. One doctor assigned the cosmetologist a 1 percent impairment rating but later testified that she made an error. The cosmetologist's daughter said that she observed the cosmetologist's red and watery eyes but admitted that she was still able to drive. The court concluded that the cosmetologist did not prove she had a permanent loss or loss of use to her eye.
The court also found that even if the cosmetologist proved a first qualifying injury, her contact dermatitis did not constitute a second qualifying injury for fund purposes. The condition was a body as a whole condition rather than to a scheduled member.
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March 3, 2011
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