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Workers' Compensation

Let It Bleed: A Delaware Case On Venous System Impairment

I recently put a call out for case law guidance on certain of the more obscure permanency values.  One of them was the vascular system.  And lo and behold,  right on top of things was Walt Schmittinger with John Lowman v. Connectiv Power Delivery, IAB#1188166 (10/30/03), an older case, which like the diamond on my finger, might be the only one of its kind.

No surprise that the vascular system is worth 300 weeks.  And this case is one for the books.  Claimant at the time of hearing, was deceased due to cancer resulting from an occupational exposure to asbestos.  Sadly, he only succumbed after walking (or literally, crawling) down a slow and torturesome path to death as the result of metastatic disease.  He spent the last 6 months of his life bedridden and suffered a loss of vision and experienced seizures as a result of the medication and radiation treatment.  The Petition was filed seeking a variety of awards including 60% to the brain, 50% to the venous system, 25% to the bone structure and 25% to the cervical spine, as well as 50% permanency to the teeth as a result of tooth decay due to chemotherapy.

Here is what the Board awarded:

·    60% impairment to the brain
·    25% impairment to the cervical spine
·    50% impairment to the vascular/venous system
·    10% impairment to the teeth
·    0% impairment to the bone system (based on insufficient medical testimony to support an award)

This case is truly a gem among stones.  It offers a tutorial on how to handle a permanency claim, or multiple claims, when the illness and disability venture well beyond the primary cancer and include not only metastasis but also the untoward effects of radiation.  It provides us with the unscheduled value of the venous/vascular system and reminds us also that the teeth are worth 80 weeks total.  Moreover, it is instructive as to how not to argue a bone impairment in a case presenting these medical facts (and in that regard I mean only to suggest the doctor, as opposed to the attorney, fell short).

I am moving to the Employment Law Department of Young Conaway this week and in the flurry of activity associated with a physical move of my office to the first floor, the blog has been quiet ……..  I hope to remedy that soon and I think we are off to an excellent start with this case.  Thank you Walt for today’s “must have” legal opinion from 2003.  It’s like they say on Facebook…. but in this case we would call it “throw back Tuesday”………:>)

Irreverently yours,



 Visit Delaware Detour & Frolic, a law blog by Cassandra Roberts


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