Ankin Law attorney, John Powers won temporary total disability benefits and surgery for a meat factory employee who injured his back at work. The worker had slipped on a piece of meat and felt a sharp pain in his back. After that incident, he did not feel he needed medical treatment. One week later, as he was lifting a 100-pound steel drum he felt and heard a pop in his low back. This time, the pain was severe and his supervisor took him to the hospital. After several doctor visits, physical therapy, and medications, he still has pain in his back. On the date of the arbitration hearing, he told the arbitrator he would like to proceed with the surgery recommended by his doctor.
In the decision, the arbitrator ordered that the employer pay any reasonable and necessary medical services resulting from the injury. The employer is also ordered to pay the worker temporary total disability benefits of $501.45/week for 79 6/7 weeks. In addition, the arbitrator ruled that the employer shall authorize and is liable for the prospective medical treatment plan, which includes a lumbar fusion revision at L5-S1, and a Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) procedure at L4-5, if necessary.
Since the incident at work, the worker has endured significant pain leading up to the arbitration decision. He lives with pain that radiates into his right leg with numbness, tingling, and weakness including pain in his buttocks and both legs, as well as difficulty standing from a seated position. The worker testified that following the October 25, 2019 incident, the pain and spasms are stronger, more frequent, last 45 minutes, and occur when he does anything, including laughing and standing up. He deals with the spasms by going out into the cold, putting his head in the freezer, or standing in front of air conditioning. He testified that after the incident, he walks with a cane, and “It hurts moving. It hurts moving it all over my legs all the way down to my knees.”
(Read the complete Arbitrator Decision Here)
Below is a brief excerpt taken from the Arbitrator Order:
Respondent shall pay Petitioner directly for any reasonable and necessary medical services, as provided in Petitioner’s Exhibits 12, 13, and 14, pursuant to Sections 8(a) and 8.2 of the Act. Per stipulation, Respondent is entitled to a credit under Section 8(j) of the Act, for any causally related bills paid by Respondent’s Group Health Insurance plan. (See Ax1 at 13 and Rx3).
Respondent is entitled to a credit in the amount of $4,513.10 (2% MAW) for a Permanent Partial Disability advance payment made to Petitioner on or about September 21, 2021, at the time that the nature and extent of the injury is considered and/or addressed. See Rx 2.
Respondent shall pay Petitioner temporary total disability benefits of $501.45/week for 79 6/7 weeks, commencing July 17, 2020, through January 26, 2022, as provided in Section 8(b) of the Act.
Respondent shall authorize and is liable for the prospective medical treatment plan recommended by Dr. Templin, which includes a lumbar fusion revision at L5-S1, and a TLIF procedure at L4-5, if Dr. Templin finds that the TLIF procedure is necessary, as provided in Section 8(a) and 8.2 of the Act.