June 7, 2016
A Union employee from Sunbury, PA, working as a delivery driver, sustained a work injury accepted on the Notice of Compensation Payable as a lumbar strain in August 2013, which the insurance carrier, Liberty Mutual Insurance, accepted. The insurance carrier had the injured worker attend an IME in February 2015 with Dr. DiBenedetto who reported that if the injured worker’s true diagnosis was a lumbar strain, that he was recovered from the same. At the time of the IME, the employee had been working in a light-duty position with another employer and was receiving partial disability wage loss benefits from the insurance carrier. The injured worker then attended another IME with Dr. DiBenedetto in November 2015. Dr. DiBenedetto reported that the injured worker was recovered from his accepted injury of a lumbar strain and that he could return to his pre-injury job without restrictions. In February 2015, the insurance carrier filed Modification and Suspension Petitions alleging that the injured worker was released to return to his regular duty, that the employer offered him his pre-injury job and the employee had not responded to the job offer and also because a Labor Market Survey had been completed which would result in a modification of his wage loss benefits. In March 2016, we filed a Review Petition seeking to have the injured workers’ description of injury be amended to include an L4-L5 disc herniation. While multiple petitions were being litigated, the future workers’ compensation benefits ultimately settled for $165,000 via a compromise and release.