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Important Decision on Worker's Compensation Law


An important decision came down recently in regards to worker's compensation law came down recently. An employee was injured two days after returning to work following an 18-month absence due to an earlier injury on the job. The employee was denied benefits for this later claim.

In affirming the decision of the administrative judge, Justice Fabricant found that the judge had not improperly relied on one physician's testimony, had not impermissibly dismissed another physician's opinion, and had not improperly relied on the employee's history of prior accepted work injuries to discredit the employee's testimony.

In regards to the last, Justice Fabricant wrote "The inconsistency between the medical records of the employee's prior claims regarding the onset of numbness and tingling in his fourth and fifth fingers, and the employee's testimony at hearing and statements to his doctors, is ... a significant and appropriate basis for the judge's credibility determination. The judge bolstered his decision with other permissible bases for not crediting the employee: 1) the inconsistency in the histories given to Dr. Linson, Dr. Lewinnek, and the hospital on April 16, 2010; 2) his observation that the employee's testimony appeared to be rehearsed; and 3) his observation that the employee's testimony regarding negative side effects concerning the ability to think and function contrasted with the employee's ability to fully participate in the hearing."

This recent decision broadens a judge's discretion in worker's compensation cases to determine whether or not an employee should get benefits. If you're dealing with a worker's compensation claim, contact our office today for a free consultation.