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Brien DiNella Represents Injured Housekeeper in Arbitration

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Ankin Law attorney, Brien DiNella represented a hotel housekeeper in an arbitration hearing after she injured her knee cleaning a hotel room. The 56-year-old employee had worked for HEI Hospitality/ Marriott International Inc for 18 years when she was injured. Her job at the hotel consisted of cleaning bathrooms, stripping the linen on beds, and taking the towels out of bathrooms. She would do on average 14-15 rooms a day and would be required to lift 100 lbs and push up to 150 lbs. On the day of the injury, she was stripping a bed and while she was taking the duvet off she twisted her knee while stepping back. She noticed that she could not walk on it and she had to hobble to the phone to call her supervisor. She was then taken by ambulance to Northwestern Medicine.

After several doctor visits and a total knee replacement, she is still not able to return back to work for the hotel. She cannot go on long walks, ride a bike, or do the laundry. She requires her husband to assist her with chores around the house and cannot go up and down the stairs like she used to.

After hearing from both the injured employee and the hotel the arbitrator ordered the hotel to pay $83,553.86 for medical bills and 68 weeks of temporary total disability benefits at $459.63/week. The arbitrator also ruled that the woman be awarded permanent partial disability to the extent of 40% loss of use of the person as a whole.

Read the full Arbitrator Decision Here:

Below is an excerpt from the arbitrator’s decision explaining the criteria and factors in determining permanent partial disability:

L. WITH REGARD TO ITEM (L), WHAT IS THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF THE INJURY, THE ARBITRATOR RENDERS THE FOLLOWING FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW:

Pursuant to Section 8.1(b) of the Act, the following criteria and factors must be weighed in determining the level of permanent partial disability for accidental injuries occurring on or after September 1, 2011:

a) A physician licensed to practice medicine in all of its branches preparing a permanent partial disability impairment report shall report the level of impairment in writing. The report shall include an evaluation of medically defined and professionally appropriate measurements of impairment that include but are not limited to: loss of range of motion; loss of strength; measured atrophy of tissue mass consistent with the injury; and any other measurements that establish the nature and extent of the impairment. The most current edition of the American Medical Association’s “Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment” shall be used by the physician in determining the level of impairment.

b) In determining the level of permanent partial disability, the Commission shall base its determination on the following factors;

the reported level of impairment pursuant to subsection (a);

(i) (ii)

(iii) the age of the employee at the time of the injury;

(iv) the employee’s future earning capacity; and

(v) evidence of disability corroborated by the treating medical records. No single occupation of the injured employee; enumerated factor shall be the sole determinant of disability. In determining the level of disability, the relevance and weight of any factors used in addition to the level of impairment as reported by the physician must be explained in a written order.

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