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Claimant was involved in an 8/30/18 work related motor vehicle accident while working as a police officer. The neck and low back were accepted by Employer. She underwent a compensable two-level cervical fusion surgery on 8/7/19.
On 9/15/21, Claimant filed a Petition seeking 26% permanent impairment to the cervical spine and 10% permanent impairment to the lumbar spine, based upon Dr. Rodgers’ opinion. Dr. Rodgers rated permanency under the 5th Edition of the AMA Guidelines. Employer contested the ratings based upon the opinion of Dr. Piccioni, who found there was 9% permanency to the cervical spine and 3% permanency to the lumbar spine. Dr. Piccioni rated permanency under the 6th Edition of the AMA Guidelines.
After trial, the Board issued a Decision dated 7/7/22 finding in favor of Employer, and awarding Dr. Piccioni’s ratings. The Board noted that Claimant’s cervical fusion was successful. The surgery improved her pain and function. The treating surgeon released Claimant to work without any restrictions for the neck or back thereafter. Post-surgery imaging showed no nerve root compromise. Claimant declined offered lumbar injections. Claimant did not seek a second opinion for the neck or back. The Board also accepted the opinion of Dr. Piccioni that the 6th Edition focuses more on objective findings and function, whereas the 5th Edition relies more on subjective complaints.
Should you have any questions regarding this Decision, please contact Greg Skolnik, or any other attorney in our Workers’ Compensation Department.
Mobley v. City of Wilmington, IAB Hrg. No. 1476680 (July 7, 2022).