A Kentucky workers compensation claim requires a doctor's opinion to establish both causation and extent of a work injury. Causation meaning that the incident in the workplace was the cause, for instance, of a knee injury. Extent meaning the degree of impairment. I've discussed the permanent impairment rating that is part of a Kentucky workers compensation claim before:
Sometimes - not all of the time -- the workers compensation insurance company hires a doctor for the purposes of giving an opinion that opposes the claim. I've discussed this practice before also: ___________. But it's not the case all of the time; I've had cases where the insurance company's doctor agreed with my client's doctor.
The Kentucky Supreme Court's recent decision in Eddie's Service Center v. Thomas regards the circumstances in which the insurance company's doctor's opinion just doesn't cut it and cannot be credited.
The case is tragic; it arose from the death of a man named Eddie Ray Thomas Jr. and occurred "while he was attempting to tow a truck from a roadside culvert." It was a difficult job, and the Court described the facts as follows:
The truck was in a culvert, and the top of the truck was approximately four feet below the road. Eddie told Bailey that it would probably be difficult to get the truck out of the culvert without doing significant damage. However, Eddie made several attempts to do so, climbing up and down the embankment of the culvert and under the truck four times in order to re-position the tow chain. Bailey went up and down the bank with Eddie three times to help him and described the work as strenuous, noting that they had to dig their feet into the side of the embankment to get any footing. After the last trip up and down the embankment, both Eddie and Bailey were breathing hard and it took approximately five minutes for their breathing to return to normal.