Doctor's opinion that degeneration not related to work curbs benefits
Case name: Legge v. AC Lightning Protection Co., Inc., No. A-11-025 (Neb. Ct. App. 08/23/11, unpublished).
Ruling: In an unpublished decision, the Nebraska Court of Appeals held that a worker was not entitled to permanent partial disability benefits or future medical expenses for his knee injury.
What it means: In Nebraska, a doctor's opinion that a worker experienced degeneration and arthritis that was not work-related can lead to a denial of compensation.
Summary: A worker for a lightning protection company sustained an injury when he stepped in a hole while carrying a roll of copper cable and the cable landed on the back of his leg. He sought medical treatment the same day. He was given medication and was discharged. He returned to work, but his knee gradually worsened. Later, his doctor recommended arthroscopy. He sought workers' compensation benefits. The Nebraska Court of Appeals held that he was not entitled to permanent partial disability benefits or future medical expenses for his knee injury.
The worker argued that before the incident, he was able to climb ladders while carrying heavy cable without a problem, but after the accident, he experienced pain and knee swelling. The court pointed out that his doctor said he had degeneration and arthritis and that the arthritis was not related to the work injury. The court also emphasized that the worker did not visit his doctor until nine months after the accident. The court found the worker's knee condition when he visited his doctor was not related to the work incident.
The court also concluded that the worker attained maximum medical improvement. The court found he was only temporarily disabled as a result of the injury on the date of the accident.
The worker also argued that he was entitled to attorney's fees because there was no reasonable controversy as to the compensability of the medical bill from the date of the accident. The court declined to award attorney's fees because no evidence showed when the company was given notice of the bill. There was no evidence that the company failed to pay the bill after 30 days notice.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
October 10, 2011
Copyright 2011© LRP Publications