NWCDN Members regularly post articles and summary judgements in workers’ compensations law in your state.
Select a state from the dropdown menu below to scroll through the state specific archives for updates and opinions on various workers’ compensation laws in your state.
Contact information for NWCDN members is also located on the state specific links in the event you have additional questions or your company is seeking a workers’ compensation lawyer in your state.
Loparex, LLC and Sentry Insurance v. James Bates, Court of Appeals of Iowa, No. 3-593 / 13-0121
The Claimant was injured when his left hand was caught in a machine. He underwent several surgeries which resulted in the amputation of two fingers. He subsequently developed complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). He experienced abnormal sensations and sensitivity to touch. He also suffered from severe depression as a result of the injury. Due to this, he was proscribed a variety of medications which he contended made him drowsy.
The agency entered a decision finding the Claimant to be permanent and totally disabled, which was affirmed by the District Court on appeal. The case was then appealed on the findings that the drowsiness complaints were related to the work injury, as well as the award of permanent total disability benefits. The Court reviewed these issues for substantial evidence.
The Court found that there was evidence in the record to support the employer’s assertions that the Claimant was not credible, his partner stood much to gain by testifying on his behalf, the medical records did not contain consistent claims of sleepiness, the Claimant was diagnosed with sleep apnea which improved with therapy, he did not lose weight or avoid alcohol as instructed to help with drowsiness, a subsequent on the job injury was not caused by drowsiness as he claimed and that the Claimant had a history of carelessness at work. However, the Court went on to state that this didn’t mean the record lacked substantial evidence to support the finding of a causal connection. Ultimately the Court relied on the references in the medical records to medications causing drowsiness to find substantial evidence and chose not to reweigh that evidence.
The Court next took up the issue of permanent total disability and indicated that it would only overturn the Commissioner’s finding if it was “irrational, illogical or wholly unjustifiable”. The Court opined that they might draw different inferences in regards to Claimant’s permanent disability based upon the records as a whole, the Court could not say that the findings made by the Commissioner lacked substantial evidentiary support or that his determination was irrational, illogical or wholly unjustifiable. As such, the finding of the Commissioner was affirmed.
Iowa Newspapers, Inc. and AIG v. Michelle Watson, Court of Appeals of Iowa, No. 3-783 / 13-0334
On December 19, 2008, the Claimant injured her left side in the course of her employment when she slipped on ice. At first, the Claimant did not think the injury was significant, but it later led to back pain, burning and numbness, headaches, interrupted sleep and depression. In May of 2009, the Claimant ended her employment with Iowa Newspapers as it became too difficult to work.
The Claimant filed a petition for workers compensation benefits and a hearing was held on September 10, 2010. The agency found that the Claimant’s condition arose out of her work injury, that her healing period ended as she was at MMI and that she was permanently and totally disabled. The decision was appealed and affirmed by both the Commissioner and the District Court.
The decision was appealed by the employer on the grounds that the agency erred in finding the Claimant’s injury was related to her fall, her healing period and ended and that she was permanently and totally disabled. The Court opined that their review was for substantial evidence, and though there was conflicting medical evidence, the Court found substantial evidence supported the finding of the agency and affirmed the decision.
Call Mark Bosscher or Lee Hook with any questions @ 515-243-2100. We’d be happy to help, whether it be a quick or a complex issue!