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Appellate Court Finds for Plaintiff in Neck Injury Case

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Kansas City, MOA recent neck injury compensation case is demonstrative of the misinformation that sometimes surrounds such cases, with the end result being a potential detriment to the patient. This point was driven home by a recent communique from the chiropractic community, as they warn about the potential for back and neck injury in association with winter weather and driving hazards.

To that end, GlobeNewswire (1/13/13) published a warning from PSS Injury and Wellness Center of Atlanta, Georgia, with regard to the importance of prompt treatment following a neck injury. Drs. Edward Schneider and Nya Jahdai-Brown stressed that a patient may feel mild discomfort following a neck injury and think nothing of it, but that a delay in treatment could lead to chronic pain and headaches, as well as neck and back pain.

The two chiropractors may have never heard of a meat packing plant worker in Kansas who complained of pain in her neck and shoulder, related to her work. According to Worker’s Compensation Report (11/13/12), the woman duly informed the plant nurse about her discomfort to the two areas of her body. However, the woman was sent for treatment that involved only her shoulder.

In so doing, treatment to her neck injury appeared to have been delayed.

After filing a workers compensation neck injury claim that also included her shoulder, an independent medical evaluation (IME) finally noted the neck injury the woman claimed to have suffered. To further complicate her neck injury compensation claim, the worker was soon involved in a serious car accident, which saw her ejected from her vehicle, sustaining a mid-spine compression fracture, according to the report.

The attending doctor at the hospital noted the neck injury, but so too noted that it wasn’t relevant to her spinal injury.

So now the worker has a back and neck injury, unrelated--with the neck injury happening at work prior to the accident, and the back injury occurring as the result of the car accident.

The woman’s employer, however, asserted the neck injury was related to the car accident, and therefore absolved itself of all responsibility. With the help of a neck injury lawyer, the plaintiff fought her employer’s assertion in court, and the Court found for the plaintiff.

Specifically, the Kansas Court of Appeals held that hospital records following the car accident made no mention of a neck injury related to the car accident. However the IME, on two occasions, noted a neck injury.

From here it gets a bit murky. The employer held that it did not owe its worker reimbursement for lost wages stemming from her first appointment with the IME, which was reportedly not authorized. The worker’s impairment rating, for back and neck injury was based on a subsequent appointment??"presumably following the car accident or as the result of the court case.

In the end, the court found the worker was eligible for workers compensation neck injury notwithstanding the reasons for her loss of wages.

It is not known how long the plaintiff had to wait for treatment of her neck injury, and how long that delay may have negatively impacted any future prognosis related to her long-term health.

Nonetheless, as far as neck injury settlements go, the case had a positive outcome: the Court recognized her neck injury as work-related, and held that she was entitled to benefits for her work-related neck injury. The case was Amador v. National Beef Packing Co., No. 107,315.

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