Workers' comp. benefit payments start 7 years after injury.CASE ON POINT: Miller v. Christus St. Patrick Hospital, 2004 WL 840076 So.2d--LA
ISSUE: Ordinarily, when an employee is injured at work Ask a Lawyer
I recently injured myself at the grocery store where I work. I was trying to move a powered lift jack out of the way so I could accomplish my assigned duties for the night. , he or she immediately loses time from work. Assuming the injury was incurred in the course of employment, the employee is paid workers' compensation workers' compensation, payment by employers for some part of the cost of injuries, or in some cases of occupational diseases, received by employees in the course of their work. for any lost time from work in addition to any medical expenses incurred. In this extraordinary Louisiana case, a nurse, who was injured in the scope of her employment continued to work for almost 7 years in various positions within the hospital before she actually gave notice that she was no longer able to work. The courts were confronted with the issue of whether or not the nurse should be allowed to collect workers' compensation for a recurrence of an injury that occurred 7 years prior to the date of her injury.
CASE FACTS: Marjorie Miller began working as a registered nurse at Christus St. Patrick Hospital on May 17, 1988. On December 21, 1993, while working as an emergency room nurse, she was preparing to place a patient in a decontamination decontamination /de·con·tam·i·na·tion/ (de?kon-tam-i-na´shun) the freeing of a person or object of some contaminating substance, e.g., war gas, radioactive material, etc.
n. tub when the lid from the decontamination tub fell off the wall, striking her in the neck and right shoulder. Prior to this accident, she did not have any problems with her neck and right shoulder. Following the accident, the nurse was treated by Dr. Lynn Foret, an orthopedist and Dr. John Raggio, a neurologist. In May 1995, Dr. Foret referred the patient to Dr. Ronald Kober, a thoracic and vascular surgeon. Dr. Kober diagnosed the patient with thoracic outlet syndrome Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Definition
Thoracic outlet syndromes are a group of disorders that cause pain and abnormal nerve sensations in the neck, shoulder, arm, and/or hand. (TOS (1) (Terms Of Service) See acceptable use policy.
(2) (Type Of Service) A field in an IP packet (IP datagram) that is used for quality of service (QoS). The TOS field is 8 bits, broken into five subfields. ), a nerve compression nerve compression,
n pressure on a nerve or nerves may often be caused by hypertonicity in adjacent muscles. syndrome in which the nerves are compressed as they pass over the first rib The first rib is the most curved and usually the shortest of all the ribs; it is broad and flat, its surfaces looking upward and downward, and its borders inward and outward. going to the arm. Pain in the shoulder, arm swelling and hand numbness are typically associated with TOS. After her accident in 1993, Nurse Miller could no longer work in her emergency room position. She was moved to various positions in the hospital from 1993 to 2000, to accommodate her TOS. The hospital paid the nurse's medical expenses, including physical therapy, medications, and treatment with Drs. Foret, Raggio, and Kober. Clint Dobson, the hospital's claim adjuster, maintained that no weekly indemnity benefits were paid to the nurse because "she continued to work after the accident." Starting in January 2000, the hospital increased her work load and hours, and as a result, her right shoulder and arm began hurting more. On March 15, 2000, after an exceptionally arduous assignment, Nurse Miller reported to Maxine Guillory, the hospital's associate health nurse, that she could no longer work because of the aggravation of her TOS. Nurse Miller did not file an official accident report. The hospital did not investigate her complaint.
On December 13, 2000, Nurse Miller filed a claim for workers' compensation. The hospital filed an exception of prescription on the basis that all of Nurse Miller's injuries resulted from the December 21, 1993, accident. Nurse Miller maintained that the March 15, 2000, incident was a new accident; therefore, her claim had not been prescribed. The hospital's exception of prescription was denied. A workers' compensation judge (WCJ WCJ White Crane Journal (gay spirituality magazine) ) found that Nurse Miller suffered a compensable com·pen·sa·ble
Being such as to entitle or warrant compensation: compensable injuries.
Adj. 1. accident, and as a result, she was temporarily and totally disabled. The WCJ awarded Nurse Miller weekly indenmity benefits of $384 per week as well as attorney's fees and penalties. The hospital appealed.
COURT'S OPINION: The Court of Appeal of Louisiana CODE, OF LOUISIANA. In 1822, Peter Derbigny, Edward Livingston, and Moreau Lislet, were selected by the legislature to revise and amend the civil code, and to add to it such laws still in force as were not included therein. affirmed the judgment of the WCJ in favor of Nurse Miller. The court held, inter alia [Latin, Among other things.] A phrase used in Pleading to designate that a particular statute set out therein is only a part of the statute that is relevant to the facts of the lawsuit and not the entire statute. , that it was satisfied that Nurse Miller presented case facts from which a reasonable person could make a determination that she was, in fact, entitled to workers' compensation benefits. The court observed that this would be so regardless of whether the court would have reached the same conclusion the WCJ had.
LEGAL COMMENTARY: Factual findings in workers' compensation eases are subject to the manifest error or clearly wrong standard of appellate review. Under the manifest error-clearly wrong standard, the appellate court A court having jurisdiction to review decisions of a trial-level or other lower court.
An unsuccessful party in a lawsuit must file an appeal with an appellate court in order to have the decision reviewed. must determine not whether the trier of fact trier of fact n. the judge or jury responsible for deciding factual issues in a trial. If there is no jury the judge is the trier of fact as well as the trier of the law. was right or wrong, but whether the fact finder's conclusions are reasonable ones. Where there are two permissible views of the evidence, a fact-finder's choice between them can never be manifestly erroneous or clearly wrong. Accordingly, if the trier Trier (trēr), Latin Augusta Treverorum, city (1994 pop. 99,183), Rhineland-Palatinate, SW Germany, a port on the Moselle (Ger. Mosel) River, near the Luxembourg border. of fact's findings are reasonable in light of the record reviewed in its entirety, the court of appeal may nor reverse, even if it is convinced that had it been sitting as the trier of fact, it would have reached a different decision. The court observed that Nurse Miller maintained that at the time of the second accident, she was in Baton Rouge Baton Rouge (băt`ən rzh) [Fr.,=red stick], city (1990 pop. 219,531), state capital and seat of East Baton Rouge parish, SE La. doing laptop training. She was working on a small laptop when she started feeling intense pain. She maintained that she had to take medication while on the job and had to take additional medication on her way home. The court noted that she maintained that her condition had not improved since the date of her last employment of March 15, 2000. The medical expert's testimony gave credence to the fact that there was an accident on March 15, 2000, that caused Nurse Miller's symptoms to be "permanently aggravated."
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