Preexisting problem with right knee doesn't relate to workplace fall
Case name: Braxton v. Resorts Casino, No. 2011-WC-01202-COA (Miss. Ct. App. 10/02/12).
Ruling: The Mississippi Court of Appeals held that a casino dealer was not entitled to benefits for the medical treatment she received for her right knee.
What it means: In Mississippi, a worker's previous right knee pain and her failure to report a right knee injury after a workplace incident will undermine her claim for benefits for the right knee.
Summary: A dealer for a casino suffered a work-related injury when she fell down stairs on her way from the break room to her workstation. The parties agreed that she injured her left knee, left hip, and right shoulder in the fall. After the fall, she reported the incident to a supervisor. She thought she reported pain in her right knee, but the incident report only referred to her left knee. She also only reported an injury to her left knee to the hospital. The dealer sought benefits for medical treatment she received for her right knee. The Mississippi Court of Appeals held that the dealer was not entitled to benefits for her right knee.
The court found that the dealer's right knee condition was unrelated to her fall at work. The court pointed out that the dealer had been treated for issues with her right knee before the fall but was problem free for 17 months. She did not complain of right knee pain again until three months after the fall when she visited a nurse. The dealer did not tell the nurse that she injured her right knee at work.
An orthopedic physician said that she had osteoarthritis unrelated to the work injury. The physician said that a total joint replacement would not be workers' compensation-related treatment. The court also pointed out that an X-ray from after the fall but before her surgery showed only minimal degenerative changes.
Although a doctor who performed an independent medical examination indicated that the dealer's right knee problem was related to her work injury, he based his conclusion on the history given to him by the dealer. The doctor assumed that she injured her right knee at work because she had surgery on the right knee.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
December 17, 2012
Copyright 2012© LRP Publications