Case name: Elkins v. LKLP CAC, Inc., No. 2012-CA-000335-WC (Ky. Ct. App. 12/14/12, unpublished).
The Kentucky Court of Appeals held that a driver was not entitled to benefits for her cervical spine condition and psychological condition.
What it means:
In Kentucky, the failure of a medical expert to receive an adequate patient history can lead to the expert's opinion being rejected.
A nonemergency medical transport driver was driving two passengers when her van was struck from behind by a utility truck. The impact broke her seat, and both of her passengers were taken to the hospital. The driver did not immediately go to the hospital, but she reported back to work. Later, she sought treatment from her family physician, complaining of low back and leg pain. She was eventually treated for a cervical spine condition and a psychological condition. She sought workers' compensation benefits. The Kentucky Court of Appeals held that she was entitled to benefits for a lumbar spine injury but not a cervical spine condition or psychological condition.
The driver argued that she suffered a psychological injury due to the trauma of the accident and her chronic and severe pain. A licensed psychologist and a board-certified psychiatrist had differing opinions on whether the driver's psychological injury was related to the accident. The court explained that it was proper for the administrative law judge to rely on the opinion of the board-certified psychiatrist that the condition was not a direct result of the accident.
The court also found that the evidence did not show that the cervical spine condition was caused by the accident. Although a university evaluator opined that the cervical spine condition was caused by the accident and work-related, he did not receive a complete and adequate patient history. Another doctor opined that the cervical spine condition was not related to the accident but was a degenerative condition.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
March 25, 2013
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