Plaintiff, an ER nurse, worked for a hospital for six years. During that time, she slipped and fell four times. The employer made note of each incident. The ER nurse received treatment for these incidents, going through her employer's health insurance and using her accumulated sick time.
Her last incident, in 2005, was serious enough that she never fully recovered. She needed back surgery in 2008.
A judge at the Department of Industrial Accidents allowed evidence of the 2005 incident, although not any of the three prior incidents as they were beyond the statute of limitations. The employer offered settlement of two and a half years wages, which the Plaintiff refused. The employer appealed the ruling of the DIA judge.
An impartial examiner was brought in to review the treatment and medical records of the employee, and stated on the record that the back surgery of 2008 "could be" related to her 2005 fall. However, the employer brought in witnesses who stated there was no causal relationship between the fall and the surgery, and also indicated that the employee was in fact capable of working.
The Plaintiff won at the two day hearing, and collected the maximum allowed Section 34 benefits. She then filed for permanent and total disability benefits. She was deemed permanently and totally disabled by an independent expert and won her next hearing. The employer's appeal led to another impartial exam, at which point it was determined that the Plaintiff did have sedentary working capacity. The parties negotiated a $300,000.00 settlement on the day of the hearing, representing eight years of wages. Plaintiff will also be able to receive social security disability benefits.
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