Case name: Henson v. Belger Cartage Services, Inc., No. 107,026 (Kan. Ct. App. 07/20/12, unpublished).
Ruling: In an unpublished decision, the Kansas Court of Appeals held that a worker was entitled to benefits for his heart attack.
What it means:
In Kansas, a worker is permanently and totally disabled when he is essentially and realistically unemployable.
A worker was injured when a coworker hit a large crate with a forklift. The crate slid across the floor and pinned the worker between it and a printing press. He immediately sought medical attention for chest and back injuries. He continued to have pain in his chest that fluctuated in severity. Nine days later, he sought medical attention. His blood pressure was low and a CT scan revealed that he recently suffered a heart attack. He sought benefits. The Kansas Court of Appeals held that he was entitled to benefits for his heart attack.
The parties disagreed as to whether the worker's work-related injury caused his heart attack. Although the employer had a dispute over payment for the neutral evaluator, her report could be considered. It was not an error for the evaluator to not refer to the American Medical Association guidelines when rendering her opinion. Her opinion created evidence of causation.
The court also found that the worker was permanently and totally disabled. A doctor compiled her functional impairment ratings and compared his ratings to a task list created by a vocational rehabilitation counselor. The doctor found the worker could no longer perform eight of the nine tasks he performed before the accident. The counselor concluded that the worker was not realistically employable based on his skills, geographic location, physical restrictions, age, education, and the condition of the labor market.
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October 1, 2012
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