The Claimant was a lineman for Verizon. He was loading a telephone pole on a truck and injured his right shoulder. He was unable to return to work and ultimately retired due to his injury. He suffered with a frozen shoulder and adhesive capsulitis with significant physical restrictions. He underwent two surgical procedures. The insurance company doctor found the claimant had a 52.5% schedule loss of use (SLU). The claimant’s doctor found the claimant was suffering from a permanent partial disability (PPD), not schedule loss of use. After the trial, the Judge determined the claimant had a 52.5% SLU. However, based upon the amount of money previously received, the claimant was to receive little to no additional money.
We appealed the decision as it was our position that the treating physician was more credible in his testimony than the insurance company doctor and that the law supported a finding of a permanent partial disability. If the claimant was found with a PPD, he would be entitled to continuing compensation payments for several additional years regardless of the amount of prior payments. The Workers’ Compensation Board Panel of Judges on appeal agreed with our argument and determined that the trial level Judge committed reversible error. The decision was rescinded and a decision was entered that the claimant suffered a 75% PPD and returned the claim for another hearing to determine the amount and duration of ongoing compensation payments.
This was an excellent outcome for our client as almost all of the time, an injury to an extremity would be awarded a SLU and prior awards are deducted. This would have left our client with little to no additional monetary compensation.
In this case, the claimant will continue to receive compensation payments for approximately 7 more years.
At FOA, we strive to attain the best possible outcome for our clients and achieve results.
Written by Robert Seidner, Esq.