Workers’ Comp summaries by Courtney S. Paterson

Betsy Jones v. Dollar General, et al.                                            

Filed September 22, 2017

Docket No. 2017-07-0074     

State File No. 910-2017

Posture: This is a case before the Appeals Board on interlocutory appeal filed by the employer, and the dispute was whether the employer should be required to provide medical benefits.

Employee alleged suffering a hernia on December 17, 2017 while stocking forty-pound bags of dog food and, after performing the work, noticed a small lump or bulge in her right lower abdomen. She did not report the incident that day. On December 27, 2016 Employee was working at another store “lifting some heavy stuff” when she began feeling “really sharp pains” in her right lower abdomen. She reported the pain to her supervisor. Employee saw Dr. Lawrence Jackson of Waverly Family Medicine on December 30, 2016 and an ultrasound did not reveal a hernia. Employee returned to Dr. Jackson and he diagnosed her with an incisional hernia and referred her for surgical consultation. Employer denied the claim on January 9, 2017. The trial court concluded that the Employee was likely to prevail in establishing the five statutory elements of a compensable hernia as set out in T.C.A. §50-6-212 (2016) and ordered medical benefits. Employer appealed. The five statutory elements include: (1) There was an injury resulting in hernia or rupture; (2) The hernia or rupture appeared suddenly; (3) It was accompanied by pain; (4) The hernia or rupture immediately followed the accident; and (5) The hernia or rupture did not exist prior to the accident for which compensation is claimed.

The appeals board affirmed the decision of the trial court.

 

Shameeka Kelly v. Regency Retirement Village, et al.                     

Filed September 29, 2017

Docket No. 2016-07-0889     

State File No. 57742-2015

Posture: This is a case before the Appeals Board on interlocutory appeal filed by the employee, and the dispute was whether the employer should be required to provide additional medical benefits.

Employee alleged suffering injuries to her left shoulder, neck, and low back on July 26, 2015 while evacuating residents after a fire alarm. Employer initially accepted the claim as compensable and provided medical treatment and temporary disability benefits. Employee eventually came under the care of Dr. Jason Hutchison, an orthopedic surgeon, who placed the Employee at maximum medical improvement on March 10, 2017 and assigned a zero percent impairment rating. He also concluded that the Employee’s complaints were not causally related to her employment. Following an expedited hearing, the trial court determined the Employee had presented insufficient medical proof to establish she would likely prevail at trial in proving she suffered work-related injuries.

The appeals board affirmed the decision of the trial court.