In May of 2009, the Kentucky Supreme Court decided a case involving the impairment rating of an injured Plaintiff. (See Karlos’ Bistro Italia v. Rohling, 2009 WL 1451898 (Ky.)). The Plaintiff in this case injured herself while at work. Id. She was a prep cook and while lifting cases of canned tomatoes she hurt her back. Id. This was on September 9, 2005. Id. On October 21, 2005, Plaintiff was rear ended during a car accident. Id. An MRI was performed on October 28, 2005. Id. It showed positive for nerve root compression. Id. In August of 2006, Plaintiff underwent lumbar surgery for her radicular pain. Id. Plaintiff was given a 13% permanent impairment rating by one doctor and 11% impairment rating by another. The 13% impairment rating was broken down to 8% for the work injury and 5% for the car accident. Id.
“Whether an impairment rating conforms to the Guides is a medical question to be decided based on expert medical testimony.” Id. This Court reviewed the testimony and held that the doctor’s evaluation and use of the Guide was not in error. Id. The Court held that the Administrative Law Judge must admit the report on remand, consider it, and rely on the doctor’s clarification that the work related injury actually produced an 8% impairment rating under the Guides. Id.
Also, there was no argument by the defense that the Plaintiff’s job required her to stand a great deal, bend, lift and carry items such as 40 pound cases of canned tomatoes. Id. “Although other medical evidence indicated that the accident caused more frequent and intense symptoms and increased the claimant’s permanent impairment rating, it did not compel a finding that she would have been able to work as a prep cook had the accident not occurred.” Id. And finally, “a finding that a work related injury produces a permanent impairment rating compels a finding that the worker is entitled to an award of future medical benefits.” Id.
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