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Workers Compensation News Summer 2015

PA Workers' Compensation Cases of Note

By John W. Zatkos, Jr.

In Simpson versus Heartland Employment Services LLC, the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board WCAB) ruled that the Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) did not err when he denied the Claimant’s claim petition against the Employer. Andrea Simpson injured her left arm while working as a cart nurse on August 19, 2012. She treated and returned to sedentary duties. She was terminated on October 16, 2012 due to a series of documented medical errors and rule violations, including giving patients the wrong medications, misplacing patient charts, and giving medication at the wrong time. The claimant met with supervisors regarding these missteps and signed off on all disciplinary forms.

The WCJ listened to expert medical testimony regarding the injury as well as testimony regarding the termination. The medical testimony revolved around injuries, including arthritis, that were already in existence. He found that Ms. Simpson had not met the burden of proof of causally connecting her pain and surgery to her work injury. Furthermore, the WCJ determined Ms. Simpson had been terminated for good cause and denied her claim for loss of earnings.

What does this mean? Repeated discipline on workplace violations support an injured worker being terminated for good cause, effectively ending their Workers’ Compensation benefits.

 

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