Johnson and Alday Defeat Insurer in Worker’s Compensation Award
Bobby and John are proud and pleased to announce that, after more than three years of litigation, they convinced an Administrative Law Judge that an employer/insurer’s decision to refuse to pay benefits was not only contrary to the law, but flat-out unjust.
Bobby and John represented a gentleman in his early 40s who was catastrophically injured in a car wreck while he was on the job making deliveries. His injuries included: traumatic brain injury and a spinal cord injury which resulted in paraplegia. His mother has since had to be appointed as his conservator because of the severity of his injuries. He hired Bobby and John to help him recover worker’s compensation benefits.
While at the hospital, the client’s blood was drawn and the test came back positive for marijuana. In the worker’s compensation arena, an employer/insurer can use a positive test to deny benefits. By statute, a positive test creates a “rebuttable presumption” that the intoxication was the cause of the injuries, not being in the course and scope of your employment. If this presumption is not defeated, the employee has no recourse and loses any right he or she has to benefits.
The employer/insurer in this case used this test to refuse to pay the client any of his lost income, any of his medical bills, and as a weapon that prevented the client from getting much-needed medical care and therapy, worsening the problems he will have for the rest of his life.
Bobby worked tirelessly and proved that no evidence existed that the client was intoxicated at the time of the wreck. His family with him on the morning of the wreck testified that he showed no signs of intoxication. So did his co-workers. So did the person he delivered items to. Even the officer testified that he found no drugs or paraphernalia in the car whatsoever. Bobby obtained all of this testimony in his pursuit of benefits and to rebut this presumption.
The only witness the employer/insurer trotted out was an “expert” toxicologist to testify that, based on the test, Bobby and John’s client was intoxicated at the time of the wreck. This “expert” had only testified in a drug and alcohol context once before and had spent the previous 20 years of his career as an environmental toxicologist. Bobby’s cross-examination of this “expert” destroyed his credibility and his opinion.
Bobby and John wrote the closing argument that sealed the deal. Through the closing argument, they successfully argued that their client had rebutted the “intoxication” presumption and that the employer/insurer had no leg to stand on with that argument. They also convinced the judge to completely disregard the “expert’s” testimony as it was not credible. Bobby and John requested an award of past medical benefits, past lost income benefits, future medical benefits, future income benefits, and allow for a doctor of the client’s choosing to continue to treat him.
The judge agreed with each request.