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COA: physical condition, injury equal one injury

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The Indiana Court of Appeals isn't convinced it needs to address the issue of pre-existing, non-work related physical conditions as it relates to a pizzeria cook's worker compensation case.

A ruling today in PS2, LLC, d/b/a Boston's Gourmet Pizza v. Adam Childers, No. 93A02-0902-EX-176, affirmed an order from the Indiana Worker's Compensation Board. A single administrative member last year had determined the injured cook was entitled to a secondary medical treatment relating to his injury and continued payment of temporary total disability benefits. On review, the full board in February affirmed that decision.

Childers was struck in the back by a freezer door in March 2007 and sustained an injury to his lower back. The record states that at the time of the accident, the 25-year-old was 6 feet tall, weighed 340 pounds, and smoked about 30 cigarettes a day. His treatment at first included medication and then physical therapy, but the latter was stopped because of worsening pain. A doctor recommended he lose weight in order to continue the treatment. However, Childers gained weight and surgery was explored as an option.

But the employer disagreed that it should have to pay for weight-reduction treatment and argued against the finding that Childers' pre-existing physical condition and inability to lose weight combined with a workplace injury produced a "single injury."

On appeal, Boston cited the state's Apportionment Statute at Indiana Code Section 22-3-3-12 that attempts to separate those workplace injuries from pre-existing impairments or disabilities that may or may not be related. Boston argues that the statute shows it would go against Indiana's public policy to hold an employer responsible for any medical condition resulting from another employment or cause. It recommended the Indiana Court of Appeals consider decisions from other jurisdictions - Louisiana, Florida, Wyoming, California, Oregon, Ohio, and South Dakota - that had considered the issue.

But the appellate judges found that Boston didn't show evidence that Childers had a weight problem impairing his health or requiring medical intervention prior to the workplace injury. After his injury, though, he was nearly immobile and that caused his weight to rise, the court wrote.

"We find Indiana law and the reasoning of the cases relied upon by the Board sufficient to our task, and to sustain the Board's award," Judge Carr Darden wrote for the unanimous panel.

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  1. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  3. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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