A 40-year-old delivery driver who injured his back at work had his case go to arbitration where he received medical benefits, temporary partial disability, temporary total disability, and prospective medical care benefits. With the help of Ankin Law attorney Josh Rudolfi, the driver will receive $6,191.95 to pay for medical services. He will also receive a temporary partial disability of $138.83/week for 6 weeks and temporary total disability payments of $440.00/week for 8 weeks. His employer has also been ordered to authorize and pay for lumbar and thoracic MRI scans and physical therapy as recommended by his doctor.
(Read the Full Arbitrator Decision Below)
The injured man hurt his back while unloading boxes of cooking oil. He testified that he was standing on the ground outside of the truck and reaching up to unload boxes of cooking oil weighing between 30 and 40 pounds. He was working alone that day and was not using the manual ramp when he was injured. Even though some products require a forklift to unload from the truck, the employer did not provide a forklift.
Despite the company’s claim that the injury did not warrant workers’ compensation benefits attorney Josh Rudolfi was able to provide evidence to the contrary. Rudolfi’s cross-examination of the company general manager prompted the arbitrator to note that the employer’s evidence was “less than credible”.
The driver testified that he continues to experience pain in his low and mid-back. He says physical therapy provides a little improvement but he still experiences disabling pain without medication The medication temporally relieves his symptoms, but they return when the medication wears off.
Below are two noteworthy excerpts from the arbitrator’s decision:
The Arbitrator viewed Petitioner’s demeanor under direct examination and under cross-examination. The Arbitrator considered the testimony of Petitioner with the other evidence in the record. Petitioner’s testimony is found to be credible. The Arbitrator also viewed Mr. N’s (company GM) demeanor under direct examination and under cross-
examination. The Arbitrator considered the testimony of Mr. N with the other evidence in the record. Mr. N’s testimony is not found to be persuasive.
The only evidence produced to rebut this proffer is the written statement and the testimony of Mr. N. Mr. N did not rebut Petitioner’s testimony as to the physical demands of his job duties. The Arbitrator finds the testimony of Mr. N to be less than credible. Mr. N testified that he was working with Petitioner on October 26, 2021, and was asked by A, the owner, in December 2021 to write a statement that Petitioner was not injured while they were working together and that a work injury had never been reported. The report was dated and signed on December 8, 2021. Mr. N testified that he prepared the statement and typed the statement. He was not influenced by his boss, A. He testified “…I prepared it myself.” Mr. N’s testimony, juxtaposed to the poor grammar contained in the report, is highly suspect. Mr. N’s testimony is consistent with a speaker at ease with the English language. His testimony employed appropriate English grammar. The author of the December 8, 2021 statement does not. The Arbitrator notes that every sentence in the report contains a grammatical error. Grammar errors occur but too many are contained in the report. The inconsistency between his testimony and the statement indicates that Mr. N misstated his involvement with the report; a report that was not maintained in the normal course of business.