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Rudolfi and Goldstein Gain Appellate Court Victory for Injured Bus Driver [2022]

Rudolfi and Goldstein Gain Appellate Court Victory for Injured Bus Driver

Scott Goldstein and Josh Rudolfi of Ankin Law won an Appellate Court decision that saw a school bus driver receive medical care and temporary total disability benefits after a shoulder injury at work. The veteran bus driver injured her arm and shoulder when she operated the manual lever to open the door to the school bus. On the day of the injury, she stated that she felt extreme pain in her right shoulder as she opened and closed the bus door during her afternoon routes. She went home and took some Tylenol but when she awoke the next day the pain had not subsided. She drove her routes that day but reported the injury to her supervisor afterward and was sent to Immediate Care.

In the arbitration hearing, the driver was awarded temporary total disability benefits of 15 2/7 weeks of benefits at the rate of $271.76. The bus company was also ordered to pay the driver’s reasonable and necessary medical expenses of $18,797.44. In addition, the arbitrator ordered the bus company to authorize and pay for the claimant’s prospective medical care in the form of arthroscopic right shoulder surgery as recommended by the doctor along with all reasonable and necessary post-operative medical care.

American School Buy Company LLC appealed the above arbitrator’s decision. Upon appeal, the Workers’ Compensation Commission Division of the Appellate Court of Illinois First District confirmed the arbitrator’s decision.

(Read the Appellate Court Order below)

Below is an interesting excerpt from the appellate Court order:

Initially, we note that the argument set forth in American’s brief contains only two citations of authority, one of which is addressed to the standard of review, and the other is addressed to the claimant’s burden of proof. American cites no authority addressed the proper analysis of the accident or causation finding by the Commission. Failure to cite a legal authority in support of an argument results in a forfeiture of the issue for purposes of appeal. Ill. S. Ct. Rule 341(h)(7) (eff. Oct. 1, 2020); Service Adhesive Co. V. Industrial Comm’n, 226 Ill. App. 3d 356, 365 (1992).
However, the rule of forfeiture is a limitation on the parties and not the jurisdiction of the court. See In re Marriage of Sutton, 136 Ill.2d 441, 446 (1990). In the interest of maintaining a sound and uniform body of precedent, we may address issues subject to forfeiture. Herzog v. Lexington Township, 167 Ill. 2d 288, 300 (1995); Jackson Jordan, Inc. v. Leydig, Voit & Mayer, 158 Ill.2d 240, 251 (1994). In this case, we elect to address the merits of American’s arguments.
¶ 23 For its first assignment of error, American contends that the Commission’s findings that the claimant sustained an injury to her right shoulder arising out of and in the course of her employment and that there is a causal relationship between the claimant’s employment and her right shoulder injury are against the manifest weight of the evidence. In the 2 1/4 total pages of argument in American’s opening brief, it contends that the discrepancy between the allegation of a specific trauma in the claimant’s original application for adjustment of claim and the allegation of repetitive trauma in her amended application for adjustment of the claim, the fact that the claimant never reported any malfunction in the door opening mechanism in the bus that she operated, and Dr. B ’s opinions support its argument that opposite conclusions to those reached by the Commission on the issues of accident and causation are clearly apparent. We disagree.

You can also view the full decision on the Illinois Supreme Court website here.

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