By Courtney S. Paterson
Richard King v. Big Binder Express, LLC, et al.
Docket No. 2016-07-0378
State File No. 35498-2015
Filed December 7, 2016
This is a case before the Appeals Board on an interlocutory appeal filed by the employer, and the dispute was whether the employee should submit to a medical examination sought by the employer.
The employee alleged suffering injuries to his face and eyes on March 24, 2015, when a crank handle struck him in the face with extreme force and knocked him unconscious. Dr. Jason Sullivan treated him and assigned a permanent impairment rating. However, Dr. Sullivan wrote that his impairment evaluation was skewed because of unreliable and inconsistent results from vision testing.
The employer sought an opinion regarding the impairment of the employee’s vision pursuant to T.C.A. section 50-6-204(d)(1). The employee refused to attend the appointment, prompting the employer to file a petition for benefit determination. The trial court concluded that the employer’s request to have the employee examined was unreasonable because Dr. Sullivan was the authorized treating physician and the employer merely sought another impairment rating.
The Appeals Board reversed the trial court’s decision and remanded the case. Section 50-6-204(d)(1), provides that the “injured employee must submit to an examination by the employer’s physician at all reasonable times if requested to do so by the employer.” To assist trial courts in determining whether an employer’s request is reasonable, the Supreme Court has indicated courts should be mindful of whether the proposed examination will subject the worker to “appreciable pain or suffering or danger to life or health.”
An associate with Spicer Rudstrom since 2009, Courtney focuses her practice on automobile liability, insurance coverage litigation, insurance defense litigation, insurance subrogation, premises liability, products liability, and workers’ compensation. She is admitted to practice in all trial and appellate state courts in Tennessee, as well as the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.
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