TRIAL COURT'S DECISION TO CIRCUMVENT SCHEDULE FOR KNEE INJURY REVERSED
Solomon Motor Company v. Earnest Dean:
In this opinion released on December 19, 2008, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals considered a trial court’s decision to sidestep the schedule set forth in §25-5-57(a)(3)a and award permanent and total disability benefits for a right knee injury. At trial, the court agreed with the plaintiff’s contention that his compensable right knee injury extended into and effected the efficiency of the plaintiff’s left knee and back. In reversing the trial court, the Court of Civil Appeals noted that the evidence only established a temporary problem with the plaintiff’s back. After a course of medication, the back problem resolved. In order for a trial court to be able to consider an otherwise scheduled member outside of the schedule, the effects of the injury to other parts of the body must be permanent. The court further noted that, even if you accept the plaintiff’s contention that his left knee problem was caused by his right knee injury, this would not remove the injuries from the schedule. The schedule set forth in §25-5-57(a)(3)a provides for the compensation of multiple members of the same class (i.e. both arms or both legs).