In January of 2008, C.G. sustained an injury while working for a regional hospital. The Claimant sustained an injury to his left knee. Complicating the matter was the fact that three months prior to his injury, the Claimant had undergone a left knee replacement which was not work related. The new injury of January of 2008 resulted in an aggravation to his prior knee condition and resulted in an additional surgery. The employer and Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier took the position that the Claimant’s left knee injury was minor and solely limited to his left knee. The treating physician opined that the impairment rating associated with the new injury was only 2% which would entitle the Claimant to an additional 4.4 weeks of benefits or approximately $2,000.C.G. contacted the Pothitakis Law Firm as he did not believe that was an appropriate award given the continued pain and discomfort that he was suffering from after the January 2008 injury. Not only did the Claimant suffer from knee pain, but shortly thereafter he began experiencing hip and back pain because of limping as a result of his knee injury. This resulted in medically what is called an “altered gait.” Pothitakis Law Firm took the position and argued that the Claimant’s left knee injury had resulted in his limp which resulted in back pain and hip pain. The importance of this argument was that the Claimant’s entitlement to Workers’ Compensation benefits could be increased dramatically if the Claim were found to extend beyond the left knee.In December of 2010, the parties appeared before the Iowa Deputy Workers’ Compensation Commissioner to present their case. In February of 2011, a Decision was issued. The Iowa Deputy Workers’ Compensation Commissioner agreed with the Claimant and Pothitakis Law Firm and found that C.G.’s left knee condition resulted in the limp that aggravated C.G.’s low back and hip condition and awarded C.G. benefits which amounted to approximately $70,000. In addition, the Defendants were ordered to pay for the medical care associated with the Claimant’s hip and back pain.
Unhappy with the Decision, the Defendants Employer and Workers’ Compensation Insurance Carrier have filed an appeal which will result in a review of the matter by the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner.