2016 – This Volusia County bus driver, with a significant pre-existing knee injury that had required major surgery, reinjured the same knee while entering her bus to begin her work day. Workers’ Compensation authorized medical treatment for this accident that occurred in December 2014. The injured worker continued to receive authorized medical treatment for this aggravation of the pre-existing knee injury up until the trial that occurred in February 2016. During this period of treatment, the employer terminated the injured worker and she proceeded to thoroughly job search throughout the central portion of the state. She obtained no employment through both her own efforts and with assistance from a vocational specialist.
At trial the employer tried to blame the injured workers’ inability to obtain employment on the pre-existing knee injury combined with the testimony of the insurance company’s doctor who testified that any restrictions on work activities were related to the pre-existing knee condition and not to the current work accident. However, the Judge of Compensation Claims found that the employer did not timely deny benefits within 120 days of when they knew, or should have known, that there was a potential issue regarding the pre-existing knee condition. The Judge awarded our client Permanent Total Disability to be paid until age 75. The $400,000 estimate of the permanent total value listed above is not reduced to present date value but it also does not include supplemental benefits to which this lady will be entitled through age 65.