Not all cases end with a judge's ruling, some are taken to a higher court for review and an appeal. When Mr. Lemaster's workers' compensation benefits case was appealed by his company's insurer and taken to the Arizona Court of Appeals, his future stability and recovery were jeopardized. With the help of Phoenix Workers' Compensation Attorney J. Victor Stoffa of Fendon Law Firm, P.C., the original decision was affirmed and the client can continue to recover comfortably.
The Back-and-Forth Story Behind the Appeal
Lemaster was a delivery driver for R & L Carriers (R&L) who routinely helped load and unload freight into his delivery truck. While unloading a 175-pound ceramic grill, he attempted to adjust his footing as the item shifted and he experienced a "snap" and extreme pain in his lower abdomen and groin; a later examination would discover he had suffered a hernia. He filed a workers' compensation claim that was accepted by Twin City Fire Insurance/Gallagher Basset Services (Twin City) and received medical and disability benefits. However, the claim would ultimately be closed with no permanent impairment cited, prompting him to file a protest.
An administrative law judge (ALJ) found that his protest was valid and that he did need continued medical care for his work-related injuries. When temporary disability benefit pay didn't arrive from Twin City, Lemaster requested another hearing. The ALJ initially denied payment for the missing temporary disability benefits but, after Lemaster requested another review, the decision was made to grant him the benefits. Thinking that his case was finally closed, he would later be told that Twin City filed an appeal to stop the ALJ's decision.
With the help of Fendon Law Firm and Attorney Stoffa, the appeal case was underway. During the proceedings, it was determined that Lemaster had suffered both a hernia and nerve damage, which was causing continual pain, sometimes intense enough to be considered debilitating. After his doctor had performed nerve blocks and other medical procedures to treat the nerve damage, he diagnosed the nerve damage to be in relation to the hernia Lemaster experienced while working. Having never returned to full work duties and continuing to feel the consequences of the hernia and nerve damage, the court found that he did become medically stationary – a legal term that means his condition would not improve any more than it already has – and did require additional benefits. Twin City's appeal was
not approved and the decision to grant him the necessary workers' compensation benefits was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
At the end of the day, we are pleased to know that we were able to play a part in an honest workers' recovery. This case is also a prime example of all the complications someone has to deal with when filing what seems like a straightforward workers' comp claim. If you have been injured on the job in Arizona, we encourage you to contact our Phoenix workers' compensation lawyers at Fendon Law Firm today. With our help, we can manage all the paperwork, legwork, and litigation, allowing you to focus on rest instead of laws and legalese.
Dial 602.842.6782 for an initial case evaluation.