Chartwell Client Prevails in Workers' Compensation Trial
An interior design firm.
Claimant filed a workers compensation claim alleging that as a result of walking into a glass door while at work, she developed traumatic brain injury, headaches, dizziness, depression, post-concussion syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, reactive anxiety and injuries to both knees. The claimant was subsequently terminated from her position due to poor job performance, which pre-dated the work accident; however, the claimant alleged that her poor job performance was related to the alleged injuries and thus, made a claim for causally related indemnity benefits.
During trial, Chartwell presented an employer witnesses to rebut the claimant’s allegation that her poor job performance began as a direct result of the accident. Coupled with the documentary evidence presented at trial, the witness testimony revealed that the claimant’s job performance issues pre-dated the work accident by at least one year. Further, extensive testimony of the claimant’s three treating physicians, and the client’s two medical experts was completed. The testimony addressed the question of whether the claimant’s medical conditions were causally related to the work accident. Chartwell’s cross-examination of the claimant’s treating physicians revealed that one of these doctors never actually personally treated the claimant, and had an on-staff psychologist performing the evaluations.
The Judge disallowed all claimed injuries, and found that the claimant’s lost time is unrelated to the work accident. In his decision, the Judge stated that the employer witness’ testimony and the documentary evidence presented at the trial make it clear that the claimant was terminated for performance reasons, and that any injury sustained did not contribute to the termination. The Judge also disregarded the testimony of the doctor who conceded during cross-examination that he never actually personally treated the claimant. This result saves Chartwell’s client as much as $53,000 per year in indemnity benefits, plus the cost of medical treatment.