By Andrew Delaney
If you’ve ever injured your back, you probably know that it’s never really the same as it was before the injury. Just twisting the wrong way can mean the better part of a week in bed annoying the hell out of one’s spouse asking for more pillows, the television remote, Tylenol, and food and drink. Or at least for me that’s what it means.
When you get injured at work, you usually qualify for worker’s compensation benefits. Once you’ve reached the end of your treatment, a doctor (or two or three) will assess whether the injury has a permanent effect and if so, to what degree. This analysis results in a so-called whole-person impairment rating.
The short story is that Mr. Marshall, a state employee, injured his back at work back in 2002. He received “an 8% whole-person impairment rating, with 6% of that rating referable to a previous injury.” He settled with his employer and the commissioner of the department of labor approved the settlement. Six years later, he completed “two more permanency evaluations with different doctors who both used a method that the first doctor had not used.” Both resulted in higher ratings. So Mr. Marshall made a claim for additional benefits. The commissioner ruled against him. So Mr. Marshall appealed to the superior court, which found in his favor after a bench trial and awarded additional benefits.