Workers’ Compensation Board Upholds Judge’s Decision to Toss Inconsistent Claim
Case Study

Workers’ Compensation Board Upholds Judge’s Decision to Toss Inconsistent Claim

January 15, 2020

He injured his knee saving the bread. That’s what the bakery-warehouse employee alleged in his worker’s compensation claim.

But when the man testified about the accident it wasn’t his knee that he described getting hurt.

“I was pushing out a dolly—a stack of bread, actually—out to the [truck] trailer and the front of the dolly must have gotten caught on the lip of the trailer,” he said at a hearing. “The [bread] stack started sliding off the dolly, and as I tried to grab it the tail end of the dolly hit my shin.”

“How did you injure your knee,” Goldberg Segalla associate Bola Awujoola asked during cross-examination, “if you got hit in the shin?”

Soon thereafter, the defense decided to make its closing statement, Bola says, “while waiving the right to cross-examine the treating doctor, waiving the right to obtain an [independent medical examination], and waiving the right to call our witnesses.”

“The crux of our argument was that there is no nexus between the claim and the diagnosis,” he says. “We argued that the claimant’s mechanism of injury was to his left shin while his claim was for the left knee and left quad.”

Bola, a member of Goldberg Segalla’s Workers’ Compensation group, also called the judge’s attention to the man’s four conflicting accounts of how he was injured. The only detail that remained the same was the number of trays of bread on the dolly: 17.

Agreeing with Bola’s assessment of the case, the judge dismissed the claim.

The man appealed to the Workers’ Compensation Board, arguing that the injury to his left shin caused his arthritic left knee to hurt, but the defense pointed out there was no medical evidence supporting the claimant’s story and the board agreed.

The judge’s decision was allowed to stand.

More about Goldberg Segalla’s Workers’ Compensation practice group

The mission of Goldberg Segalla’s Workers’ Compensation practice group is to achieve significant and sustainable reductions to the overall expense of each client’s workers’ compensation program. The firm’s commitment to this mission—and its success in efficient file handling as well as long-range strategic risk-management—has earned Goldberg Segalla a national reputation for exceeding its clients’ expectations and driving positive change in the practice of workers’ compensation law.