While many workers' compensation claims are uncomplicated, some employers challenge the findings of the workers' compensation commissioner to award benefits to an employee. One such case was challenged in the Iowa District Court for Polk County, and when the commissioner's findings were affirmed, the employer filed an appeal. The case involved a 38-year-old man who was employed as a truck driver in 2004.
The worker apparently developed pain in his lower back in 2006 and went back to his home country for back surgery in 2007. Upon his return to Iowa in October 2007, he applied for a position as a commercial truck driver with the defendant. He asserted that he experienced no back problems until 2009 when he injured his back again. The worker claimed that he fell from the four-foot high landing of his truck when he slipped in wet weather conditions. A passing truck driver reportedly called 911, and the man was hospitalized for three days, complaining of back and shoulder pain.
Following this incident, he started experiencing back pain again and underwent more back surgery on Feb. 24, 2010. This was followed by right shoulder surgery on Oct. 6, 2010. He contends that the chronic pain after those operations caused depression; however, this was determined to be of temporary nature. The employer was instructed to provide necessary and reasonable psychological and psychiatric treatment. Taking all the factors into consideration, it was determined that the back injury aggravated the worker's previous injury, and his industrial disability was only 40 percent.
After examining all the evidence and the information provided by expert witnesses, the Court of Appeals of Iowa affirmed the district court's ruling. With the skilled advocacy of the attorneys of the Law Offices of Gallner & Pattermann, P.C., this worker will receive the workers' compensation benefits he deserves. This will likely include coverage of medical expenses, a portion of lost wages and additional benefits for disability.