Operator's physical restrictions, limited education warrant benefits
Case name: Taylor v. Hanson North America, No. 2012 CA 0286 (La. Ct. App. 01/09/13).
The Louisiana Court of Appeal held that an operator was entitled to permanent total disability benefits and a spinal cord stimulator was reasonable and necessary medical treatment.
What it means:
In Louisiana, before a worker is found to be permanently and totally disabled, it must be determined whether there is reasonable probability that the worker can be rehabilitated so he can achieve suitable gainful employment.
A kiln operator was injured in the course and scope of his employment when a kiln exploded, blowing the door off the hinges. The door landed on the operator and two other workers. The operator injured his leg and lower back. He received temporary total disability benefits, which were terminated after 520 weeks. He asserted that he was permanently and totally disabled and needed a spinal cord stimulator. The Louisiana Court of Appeal held that he was entitled to PTD benefits and a spinal cord stimulator.
A vocational rehabilitation expert opined that the operator was unemployable due to his physical restrictions, limited mental abilities, and his opinion that no jobs existed for him. The operator was 69 years old and had worked manual labor jobs. He had difficulty standing, sitting, bending, stooping, and squatting. He had pain when lifting heavy objects. He said that he would go back to work if he could. The court found that he was entitled to PTD benefits.
The operator's treating physician prescribed a spinal cord stimulator. Two other physicians opined that he was not a candidate for a spinal cord stimulator. The treating physician continued to request authorization for the treatment. The court said that the testimony of the treating physician was given greater weight due to the extensive length of treatment by the treating physician. The court found that the operator was entitled to his choice of physician in the area of orthopedic surgery or neurosurgery.
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April 8, 2013
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