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Judges affirm worker's compensation board ruling

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The Full Worker’s Compensation Board of Indiana was correct in ordering a business to pay for an employee’s third surgery that resulted from an accident partially caused by a previous work-related injury.

In Moorehead Electric Co. v. Jerry Payne, No. 93A02-1105-EX-457, the court affirmed a ruling by the state board about a workplace injury.

Jerry Payne injured his right shoulder on the job at Moorehead Electric Company in September 2008, and the following spring he received two surgeries and was instructed to wear a shoulder brace 24 hours a day. Less than two weeks after his second surgery, Payne attended a wedding reception in Indianapolis and fell when he tried to avoid colliding with other people. As a result, in part, of wearing the brace that he said impaired his vision, Payne re-injured his right shoulder and needed a third surgery. Moorehead paid for the first two procedures, but refused to pay for the third because it wasn’t work related. Payne argued that it should be covered, and after a hearing a single hearing member ruled in Payne’s favor. The full board later adopted that ruling, and this appeal followed.

The appellate court found that Payne was acting as a reasonably prudent person would under those same circumstances. The board found the man’s ability to walk because of the brace was impaired and was at least partially responsible for the re-injury.

“In other words, because the original shoulder injury arose out of Payne’s employment, and there was no intervening, causal act of negligence, the subsequent injury is a consequence which flows from it, and therefore, likewise arises out of his employment with Moorehead,” Judge Paul Mathias wrote.

 

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