Alabama Workers' Comp Blawg

  • 11
  • May
  • 2009


Walmart Stores, Inc v. Marilyn Orr:

In this opinion, released on May 8, 3009, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals considered a case wherein the trial court held the employee to be permanently and totally disabled due to a left knee injury and a successive left hip injury. The trial court found that the hip injury was a natural consequence of the knee injury or the altered gait resulting from the knee injury.
At trial the evidence related to the successive injury came from two treating doctors. The knee doctor said the hip injury was not connected to the knee injury. He testified that the altered gait could place stress on the hip and aggravate an underlying condition. The knee doctor went on to testify that neither the employee’s altered gait nor the trauma causing the knee injury resulted in, aggravated or hastened the hip problem.
The hip doctor gave conflicting testimony during the direct examination and the cross examination as to the hip being the natural consequence of the knee injury or altered gait. The trial court held that this testimony established clear and convincing evidence as to the causal relationship between the work-related knee injury and the hip injury.
In reversing the trial court, the Court of Appeals noted that a mere possibility that the employee’s hip injury was the natural consequence of the work related knee injury, as the above evidence established, did not satisfy the employee’s burden of proof and it amounted to guessing the employer into liability.

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