December 2014 – The injured worker in this Workers’ Compensation case is a 52 year old Hispanic male with limited English speaking and writing skills. Following his on-the-job accident with the employer, the injured worker was terminated in 2012. He subsequently obtained another job for a period of time but lost that job due to the injuries he sustained in his Workers’ Comp accident. From that point forward (May 2012) until the date of trial, this gentleman contacted in excess of 500 potential employers looking for work. He received no offers of employment.
Interestingly, the underlying employer offered this gentleman a part-time job as a prep cook once that employer realized that a trial for Permanent Total Disability benefits was rapidly approaching. This injured worker went back to the employer and worked this part-time job on those occasions that he was allowed to work. Regardless of the fact that this injured worker was actually working at a part-time job at time of the trial, the Judge still awarded Permanent Total Disability benefits for multiple reasons; not the least of which was that the Judge determined the offer of part-time employment was “sheltered” employment. The employer has appealed this Judge’s order and a decision from the Appellate Court should be forthcoming during the summer of 2015.