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The Supreme Court of Nebraska on Friday affirmed a woman’s permanent total disability benefits after she suffered a debilitating stroke that a lower court acknowledged had nothing to do with her workplace injury, which had left her disabled prior to her stroke.
Linda Carlson fractured her left hip while working at Five Star Quality Care Inc., also known as Crestview Healthcare Center, in Milford, Nebraska, in 2013. Court records for Danielle Krause and Laurie Hoyt, as co-guardians and co-conservators for Linda Carlson v. Five Star Quality Care Inc., also known as Crestview Healthcare Center, and New Hampshire Insurance Co. did not provide details on how she was injured but chronicled her hip surgery and that she had attempted to return to work but suffered too much pain.
Doctors in 2015 agreed that she suffered major impairment, with her employer’s doctor that “likely… (she) will have significant permanent physical restrictions as a result of her injury,” according to documents filed in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Ms. Carlson filed a petition in Workers' Compensation Court seeking temporary and permanent disability benefits and “approximately 3 weeks” after the petition was filed, she suffered a catastrophic stroke that left her largely incapacitated.
The compensation court, finding that the stroke was unrelated to the work injury or treatment, found Ms. Carlson had reached maximum medical improvement prior to her stroke and awarded her permanent total disability benefits.
The employer and its workers' compensation insurer appealed, challenging the date of maximum medical improvement and the award of permanent total disability. The employer also argues that after Ms. Carlson's stroke, she was no longer entitled to permanent total disability benefits, according to records.
The state Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the compensation court’s ruling, writing: “Carlson was permanently and totally disabled as a result of a work accident and injury. The fact that she subsequently suffered a stroke that was neither medically nor causally related, does not relieve Five Star of its obligation to pay Carlson permanent total disability benefits under the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Act.”
Officials with Five Star Quality Care Inc. could not immediately be reached for comment.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Thursday awarded permanent total disability to a man who injured his back working for a large paper company that failed to prove that the employee was provided with adequate accommodations after returning to work.