Workers' Compensation

Riding Tandem: A Case of Permanency & Disfigurement in Delaware Offers a Little Somethin' Special

Okay, so I get a little more excited than the average practitioner when I come across a quirky case-- be it what I would call "funky body parts" or a sexy legal issue, or even the statement of the glaringly obvious (which itself is often entertaining).  I have said it before-- in the library of the law, workers comp is the Harlequin Romance.   A quick read, a little intrigue and the occasional sex, drugs and rock-n-roll (remember the "Pee Cup" case?)

Well, my gift to you today is April Simpson Lewis v. Wachovia Bank of Delaware, IAB# 1285182 (3/4/11), authored by Hearing Officer Joan Schneikart on behalf of the Board.  I am not going to regurgitate a lot of facts other than to say it answers the following questions, should they keep you up at night:

*       What is a facial droop worth?

*       What is a "claw hand" worth?

*       What impairments result from a brain stem stroke?

*       Is Bruce Grossinger ever found credible?

As for the experts, Dr. Bruce Grossinger testified for the claimant and Dr. John Townsend testified for the employer.  On the balance, this Board panel went with Dr. Grossinger although they ruled that his separate rating for the esophagus, speech, and cranial nerve were subsumed within the already-rated 34% to the brain.  I was a little let down in that I need to be reminded what an "esophagus" is worth as an unscheduled loss-- it is not on my "quintessential laminated permanency chart"  that I give to friends and loved ones at the holidays.    Am I the only one that thinks even if they are not going to award it, they might be so kind as to remind us what it's worth?  [just a thought]

On the disfigurement I will go ahead and spill the beans-- a facial droop merits 6 weeks and that "claw hand" is worth 20.  Not too shabby.

Psalm 37:4 says to delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.   The desire of my heart today is to know how much an esophagus is worth.....:>)

But for the answers to the rest of it, check out this case.  And props to Larry Kimmel for the claimant and Robert Richter for the carrier in providing a little bit of light reading for us all.  Way to go, guys!

Irreverently yours,
Cassandra Roberts

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

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