Earlier this month, one state’s supreme court issued a written opinion in a workers’ compensation case involving a man who was seriously injured while working at a national hardware store chain. The employer argued that since a doctor had determined that the employee could return to work, although the worker’s back was found to have a 75% impairment rating, permanent benefits should be denied. The court ultimately rejected the defendant’s argument and found that the injured employee should have been eligible for permanent workers’ compensation benefits.
In September 2010, the employee slipped and fell while he was helping a customer load merchandise into their vehicle. As a result of the fall, the employee seriously injured his back. Specifically, he suffered from a herniated disc and spinal-cord compression. He had surgery performed to fuse two of his discs together. However, even after the surgery, he suffered from neck and back pain and had difficulty with balance.
The injured worker was seen by several doctors, each of whom had different opinions about his level of impairment. However, all of the medical opinions suggested that the level of impairment to the worker’s spine was over 50%. Some opinions placed the level of impairment at around 90%. However, one of the doctors opined that the employee could return to work with significant restrictions.