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So, of course, as I have one foot out the door to head to the beach, the IAB ruling I have been tracking hits my desk. Did you know that prior to this decision, there were three inconsistent IAB decisions assigning three different values to a pelvis? (Say it ain’t so!) One award was based on 150 weeks, one was based on 250 weeks, and the third was based on the maximum 300 weeks. And as for the biliary tract…… alas, there was no precedent to rely upon.
So that’s what brought Cynthia Pruitt and Scott Silar to the Board on May 31st…. that and a number of scars (13, to be exact). The parties were seeking the Board’s input on the value of the disfigurement (and that alone makes this case worth perusing) and agreed on a 16% impairment to the biliary tract and a 23% impairment to the pelvis—it was the value of those body parts that was the conundrum, especially as to the disparate rulings that had issued heretofore on the pelvis. So what’s a pelvis worth? And what exactly does the biliary tract do?
Since my dearest wish is to clean my desk off and forget about this place for a few days, and since there is an oceanfront room at the Boardwalk Plaza with my name on it, I will cut to the chase with the take-aways offered by this decision:
· For now and forever after, a pelvis will be worth the maximum value of 300 weeks
· Forever and always, the biliary tract is also worth 300 weeks (this case includes an expansive discussion of what the biliary tract is, what is does and what it includes)
· For a tracheotomy scar, an award of 15 weeks issues
· For an altered gait in an individual who spends the lion’s share of his time in a wheelchair, an award of 15 weeks is assigned which is then adjusted to 27.3 weeks using the Bagley analysis (and if you ever wondered how that works, this is the case to read!)
The case under discussion is Jose Medina Ayala v. Diamond State Recycling, IAB# 1354859 (8/1/03).
And as the Go Go’s would say- Don’t bother me now, I’m on vacation!
Visit Delaware Detour & Frolic, a law blog by Cassandra Roberts
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