Previously, we began looking at a recent workers' compensation case our firm successfully handled for an injured worker. As we noted last time, we were successful in defeating the employer's attempt to have a medical report thrown out based on an alleged ambiguity when there really was no significant ambiguity or inconsistency in the report.
A second issue we had to deal with in the case was whether the Industrial Commission should have considered the employee's lack of participation in retraining and rehabilitation in making a decision about workers' compensation benefits. We argued that when permanent total disability is based only on a claimant's medical impairment, as it was in this case, the commission is not required to take into account nonmedical disability factors, such as nonparticipation in reeducation or retraining. On that point, the court agreed.
Thirdly, the employer's objection to the decision not to allow deposition of its fact witnesses was struck down again on the strength of our argument that the commission was not required by law to allow the employer to depose fact witnesses prior to a hearing. As the court noted, the employer had other opportunities to obtain the information it sought without having to pursue depositions.
The issues at play in this case are a good example of the kinds of issues employers may raise in an attempt to deny or undermine workers' compensation awards. There are a variety of legal and procedural issues that can come up in the claims process, and employers who are bent on avoiding responsibility will use any line of argument that benefits their case.
The important thing for employees to remember is that they are entitled to workers' compensation by law and that they have a right to engage the legal process when these benefits are denied. Working with an experienced attorney helps ensure an injured worker's rights are protected throughout the legal process and that he or she has the best possible opportunity to receive the compensation to which he or she is entitled by law.