Is it possible for an injured worker with multiple restrictions to receive disability benefits? Can sedentary jobs be considered as an alternative?
In a recent ruling, the Ohio Supreme Court concluded that an injured worker who had several medical restrictions was still capable of performing sedentary work as defined under state law. The case involved Donna Kidd, who suffered a back injury while working in a warehouse and production role. Despite undergoing spinal surgery and experiencing ongoing pain in her back and legs, Kidd was denied permanent total disability benefits. The court determined that while Kidd had significant restrictions, there were technological options available that could accommodate her needs, such as telework. The ruling highlights the importance of considering available job opportunities and accommodations when assessing a worker’s ability to return to the job market.
Full Article: Is it possible for an injured worker with multiple restrictions to receive disability benefits? Can sedentary jobs be considered as an alternative?
Ohio Supreme Court Rules Injured Worker Cannot Collect Permanent Disability Benefits
Back injury leads to spinal surgery, pain in back and legs
A worker named Donna Kidd injured her back while working as a warehouse and production employee. She collected workers’ compensation benefits for various lumbar-spine medical conditions. Despite returning to work with restrictions, Kidd eventually underwent spinal surgery, which did not relieve her symptoms. She attempted to continue working in a part-time job but had to quit due to increasing pain and difficulty with daily activities.
Worker’s application for permanent disability benefits
In September 2018, Kidd applied for permanent total disability benefits, stating her various medical restrictions. She reported her need for assistance with heavy lifting and her difficulty with standing, bending, and lifting. She also mentioned her previous experience in jobs that involved using a cash register, performing data entry, and answering phone calls.
Conflicting medical opinions
Kidd’s chiropractor stated that she was unable to return to work due to her worsening lumbar disc condition and leg complaints. An independent medical examiner agreed with the chiropractor’s restrictions but believed Kidd could still work at a sedentary level with additional limitations. However, a vocational consultant disagreed with the examiner, stating that Kidd’s restrictions were less than a sedentary level and that most employers would not accommodate her need for frequent breaks.
Denial of benefits and appeal
The Ohio Industrial Commission denied Kidd’s application for permanent total disability benefits, basing their decision on the independent medical examiner’s report. However, the 10th District Court of Appeals overturned the denial, finding that the examiner’s restrictions were inconsistent with the definition of sedentary work under state law. The court ordered the commission to reconsider Kidd’s application based on their findings.
Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling
The Ohio Supreme Court sided with the commission, stating that they can consider job opportunities that are reasonably likely to accommodate a worker’s medical restrictions. Despite Kidd’s need for frequent rest periods, the court believed there were technological options such as telework that could compensate for her limitations. One justice dissented, expressing concern about the availability of telework opportunities in the current job market.
The Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling states that an injured worker with medical restrictions can be deemed capable of performing sedentary work if there are job opportunities available that can accommodate their limitations. In Donna Kidd’s case, the court found that her medical restrictions allowed for sedentary work with potential technological accommodations.
Summary: Is it possible for an injured worker with multiple restrictions to receive disability benefits? Can sedentary jobs be considered as an alternative?
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that an injured worker with various medical restrictions cannot collect permanent total disability compensation. The worker, Donna Kidd, suffered a back injury while working and underwent spinal surgery, but her symptoms persisted. After vocational rehabilitation, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation determined that Kidd could continue her job search independently. Kidd applied for permanent total disability benefits, stating her limitations. An independent medical examiner found that she could perform sedentary work with additional restrictions. The court found that there are technological options, such as telework, that could accommodate Kidd’s medical restrictions. However, one justice dissented, arguing that telework opportunities may be limited.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Frequently Asked Questions
Can injured workers with restrictions collect disability benefits?
Yes, injured workers with restrictions may be eligible to collect disability benefits depending on their specific circumstances. It is important to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney or contact your local disability benefits office for guidance on your particular case. They can assess your eligibility and help you navigate the application process.
Are sedentary jobs an option for injured workers?
In some cases, sedentary jobs can be an option for injured workers with restrictions. Sedentary jobs typically involve minimal physical exertion and require sitting for most of the workday. However, the availability of sedentary jobs may vary depending on the nature of the injury, the skills and qualifications of the injured worker, and the specific job market. It is recommended to discuss the possibility of sedentary work with your healthcare provider, vocational counselor, or disability benefits office.