Scott v. State of Delaware, No. N11A-11-002 MMJ (Del. Super. Ct. 07/02/12).
Ruling: The Delaware Superior Court terminated a supervisor's temporary total disability benefits for his knee injury and held that he was not entitled to benefits for a low back injury.
What it means: In Delaware, a subsequent injury is compensable if it is the direct and natural result of the compensable primary injury.
Summary: A shift supervisor for the state fell while descending a flight of stairs and injured his knee. The state acknowledged that his injury was compensable, and he was awarded temporary total disability benefits. Later, the state sought to terminate his TTD benefits, claiming that he was physically able to return to work. The supervisor opposed this, arguing that he also injured his low back in the accident. He also said that his low back injury was aggravated by treatment for his knee. The Delaware Superior Court held that the supervisor's TTD benefits were terminated, and he was not entitled to benefits for his back injury.
The court found that the supervisor's low back injury was not causally related to his work injury. The supervisor offered inconsistent statements regarding the onset of his low back pain. He said he experienced low back pain immediately after the incident, but later said his back pain began one month after the fall. Also, neither of his doctors opined that his back pain was caused by the work accident.
The supervisor also argued that his low back pain was caused by complications during the spinal anesthesia process during surgery for his knee injury. The court disagreed, pointing out that no evidence showed that the supervisor complained of low back pain immediately after his surgery. The court said it was unlikely that he would have kept post-surgical pain to himself.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
September 13, 2012
Copyright 2012© LRP Publications