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Claimant proceeded to Board Hearing on the issue of initial compensability of a 1/12/18 injury and seeking payment of a then recommended left knee arthroscopic surgery. The Board found his claim compensable, and awarded the surgery, but did not rule on total and/or partial disability benefits, because Claimant did not request same. Claimant proceeded with surgery on 4/10/19, and filed a Petition seeking total disability and/or partial disability benefits from the 4/1/18 date of termination from employment and ongoing.
The Board found that Claimant did not meet his burden of proof on the Petition for total and/or partial disability, because he did not conduct a good faith job search following his termination from employment on 3/31/18. He was terminated for simply stopping showing up at work. He unilaterally stopped communicating with Employer. He did not respond to calls or letters sent by Employer. He abandoned his job. Claimant was capable of working with restrictions for nearly all of the ensuing two years with the exception of 4-6 weeks associated with his surgery yet testified to the Board that he made absolutely no job search during this time without any justifiable excuse. He did not even apply to any of the 9 positions that his own vocational rehabilitation specialist identified 4 months before the Board Hearing. The Board also noted that at 62 years old, claimant was at normal retirement age. Therefore, considering the totality of the circumstances, his withdraw from the workforce was due to personal reasons, rather than the work injury.
Should you have any questions regarding this Decision, please contact Greg Skolnik, or any other attorney in our Workers’ Compensation Department.
Jeffrey Legg v. Shurline Construction, IAB Hrg. No. 1472667 (Mar. 2, 2020).