Alabama Workers' Comp Blawg

  • 04
  • Sep
  • 2009

PERMANENT AND TOTAL CASE REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS FOR TRIAL JUDGE TO CONSIDER EXTENT OF PAIN

Wehadkee Yarn Mills v. Deborah Harris:

On September 4, 2009, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals released this opinion wherein it reversed and remanded a permanent and total award with instructions. At trial, the evidence revealed that the plaintiff had a significant thumb injury. The plaintiff testified that she was in a considerable amount of debilitating pain. Her vocational expert testified that she was 100% disabled. The trial judge ruled that the plaintiff was permanently and totally disabled. On appeal, the employer argued that the thumb injury should not have been removed from the schedule because there was no evidence that the thumb injury extended to other parts of the body and permanently affected their efficiency. The Court of Appeals agreed. The Court also acknowledged that it is possible for an injury to be removed from the schedule where the plaintiff’s pain is considered to be "virtually totally physically disabling." Since the trial court did not specifically address whether or not the plaintiff’s complaints of pain rose to this level, the Court remanded the matter with instructions that the judge make such a finding.

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