Larson’s Spotlight on Recent Cases: Trauma Induced Stroke in Fall From Wheelchair Not Compensable Aggravation of Original Injury

Larson’s Spotlight on Recent Cases: Trauma Induced Stroke in Fall From Wheelchair Not Compensable Aggravation of Original Injury

Larson's Spotlight on Aggravation of Original Injury, Credit for Pension Benefits, and Injuries Related to Medical Treatment. Larson's surveys the latest case developments that you need to know about. Thomas A. Robinson, the staff writer for Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, has compiled the list below.

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OH: Claimant's Trauma Induced Stroke In Fall From Wheelchair Is Not Compensable Aggravation of Original Injury

As pointed out by Arthur Larson in his seminal work on workers' compensation law, once a primary injury is sufficiently connected to the workplace so as to support an award of workers' compensation benefits, a subsequent injury—whether an aggravation of the original injury or a new and distinct injury—is also compensable if it is the direct and natural result of the compensable primary injury [see Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 10.01, et seq.].  Of course, determining whether the subsequent injury is so connected to the first is not always easy.  In a recent decision from Ohio, a divided appellate court held that a worker, who lost the use of his legs in 1965 in a work-related accident, and who was thereafter confined to a wheelchair, was not entitled to additional workers compensation benefits related to a trauma induced stroke that he sustained when, as he was being moved from his wheelchair by a home health aide, he fell, struck his head on a table, and sustained a right parietal bleed or hemorrhagic stroke.  The majority held that the worker failed to show anything other than that his stroke was caused by the intervening act of being mishandled by the aide.  For additional discussion, see

See Toth v. United States Steel Corp., 2012 Ohio 1390, 2012 Ohio App. LEXIS 1198 (Mar. 30, 2012)

See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, §§ 10.06, 131.03.

ME: After Full Payment of Scheduled Injury, Employer Allowed Credit Against Additional Disability Benefits Owed Permanently Injured Claimant Related to Pension to Which It Contributed

The Supreme Judicial Court of Maine recently held that because a claimant had received 800 weeks of permanent total incapacity benefits pursuant to the conclusively presumptive time period established in Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 39-A, § 212(2)(G) (2011), the employer was allowed to take statutory offsets against the claimant's benefits pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 39-A, § 221 (2011) related to a pension to which it had contributed.  The court reasoned that while there could be no offset related to the first 800 weeks of benefits since the "schedule" required that the appropriate number of weeks of benefits be paid whether or not there had been any reduction in the claimant's wage-earning abilities, such was not the case once the schedule had been satisfied.

See Mitton v. Verizon, 2012 ME 41, 2012 Me. LEXIS 38 (Mar. 22, 2012)

See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, §§ 86.02, 157.05.

GA: No Compensation Awarded for Injuries Sustained in Auto Accident Following Doctor's Appointment for Treatment Related to Earlier Compensable Claim

Injuries sustained by a worker in an automobile accident that occurred just after the worker left a doctor's office for treatment related to an earlier, compensable injury did not arise out of and in the course of the employment, held a Georgia appellate court recently, in spite of the fact that the vehicle in which the worker was riding was provided by the employer.  That the transportation was supplied by the employer did not control, held the court. The issue turned instead on whether the worker's trip was "voluntary."  The court noted that: (1) the worker was not going to or from work when the accident occurred; (2) the appointment was not required by the employer; and (3) the employer had no control over the worker's appointments.  The appellate court held that the superior court, therefore, correctly determined that the ALJ and the Board committed legal error by concluding that all of the worker's injuries sustained in the accident were compensable.  Practitioners from other states should note that the Georgia decision runs counter to the rule in most other jurisdictions.

See Flores v. Dependable Tire Co., Inc., 2012 Ga. App. LEXIS 362 (Mar. 29, 2012)

See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 10.07.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law

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  • 04-09-2012

People are always trying to stretch the law. Lawyers should know better than to present a claim which its obviously not compensable.