Alabama Workers' Comp Blawg

  • 12
  • Oct
  • 2009

SCHEDULED MEMBER INJURY AS A TOTAL OR PARTIAL LOSS

General Elec. Co. v. Baggett (Part II):

On October 9, 2009, in addition to ruling on the issue of a surviving spouse stepping into the shoes of the injured worker, the Court of Appeals laid out the test for a partial loss equaling a total loss. Upon remand after reversal of a permanent and total award for a leg injury, the Trial Court ruled that Mr. Baggett suffered a total loss of his left leg. In this case the authorized treating physician assigning an 8% rating to the body as a whole for a knee injury.

No Alabama case had ever addressed what it takes for a partial loss of a member to result in the total loss of a member. The Court of Appeals looked to Pennsylvania for their answer. The Court of Appeals went on to say that if the employee lost the use of the member for all practical purposes, then it will be considered a total loss of the member. The Court of Appeals focused on the fact that Mr. Baggett experienced "difficulty performing normal daily tasks" and struggled to perform "basic life activities." Finally the Court of Appeals stated: "The loss of the use of a scheduled member does not mean that an injured body part is of absolutely no use whatsoever."

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