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Claimant filed a Petition alleging a 9/10/19 injury to the right wrist, elbow, and shoulder, ongoing total disability following approximately 4 weeks of modified duty work, and seeking payment for all associated medical treatment expenses, including pre-authorization of surgeries that had been recommended for all three body parts. The Board found that claimant failed to prove that any injury was causally related to his work activities. The testimony and evidence were inconsistent, and that detracted from claimant’s credibility and the strength of his case in general.
The Board was critical of claimant’s attempts to downplay his right arm symptoms associated with an earlier workers’ compensation injury. He first testified that all his problems resolved quickly, but then changed his story and admitted that following the accident he treated for years with high dose narcotic medications. He denied previously requiring any right shoulder treatment for the earlier accident, a statement contradicted by many of his own records. The Board also commented that the claimant’s story, as told to the defense medical expert in 2020, Dr. Crain, that the earlier records must have been for treatment for another claimant with the same name, detracted from his credibility, especially since the records contained the identical name, birth date, and many other facts indicating that the treatment was clearly rendered to the same individual. Claimant also omitted facts about his pre-existing condition from his pre-employment physical. On cross examination, he claimed he could not even recall appearing before the Board for two prior merit Hearings associated with his earlier claim.
The Board also discussed an alleged “journal” of the events that claimant had submitted to the Board at Hearing. The primary purpose of the journal was to rebut allegations by the Employer of a gap in treatment for the shoulder, as the journal contained numerous entries allegedly contemporaneous to the work event stating that claimant had reported shoulder pain. The Board questioned the veracity of the journal overall as many of the events in the journal were directly contradicted by his own records from multiple different care providers, as well as the employer’s records and witnesses’ testimony.
The Board even discussed claimant’s testimony that multiple providers treated him unprofessionally, including a physician affiliated with the employer. The Board found it highly unlikely that numerous providers would treat claimant unprofessionally or cause him to report his history inaccurately.
Should you have any questions regarding this Decision, please contact Greg Skolnik, or any other attorney in our Workers’ Compensation Department.