Waters v. All Phase Const.Annotate this Case
In 2006, claimant William Waters was working as a drywall hanger and taper. He was injured on a jobsite and sought medical care from a chiropractor. When chiropractic did not resolve his pain, he was recommended for surgery. The surgeon released Claimant to return to light work with a 45-pound lifting restriction. In 2007, the surgeon concluded that Claimant had reached medical stability, and he released Claimant to full activities, restricting him only from impact loading with axial activities, such as diving and gymnastics. Claimant returned to drywall work, but was laid off due to his difficulty keeping up. He applied for jobs at a convenience store and at rental car agencies, but was not hired. Later that year, Claimant sustained a whiplash injury to his neck in a rear-end motor vehicle accident, for which he sought and received emergency medical care. During the first part of 2008, he tripped and fell while running, sustaining an injury to his right shoulder for which he also sought and received emergency medical care. Claimant returned for treatment of right shoulder pain. After examining Claimant and conducting further testing, the doctor determined that Claimant had shoulder weakness from a nerve injury likely due to the industrial accident. Whether and to what extent Claimant was entitled to permanent partial disability benefits was tried to a referee. Claimant relied upon the testimony of two experts: his examining doctor and a vocational rehabilitation consultant. The central issue was whether the medical conditions identified by the doctor after the car accident were caused by the industrial accident. The referee concluded that Claimant had failed to prove that they were. The referee recommended that Claimant had failed to prove any permanent partial disability in excess of a 12% permanent partial impairment, which the State Insurance Fund (Surety) had already paid. The Commission adopted the referee’s proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law as its own. Claimant then timely appealed. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the Industrial Commission.