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Truck driver with previous injuries denied Florida workers comp

Posted On: Dec. 29, 2014 12:00 AM CST

Truck driver with previous injuries denied Florida workers comp

A Florida truck driver who failed to tell his employer and treating physicians about his prior injuries and workers compensation claim in Ohio is barred from receiving benefits, a Florida appeals court ruled Tuesday.

Alan R. Clark, a long-distance truck driver for Wilmington, Ohio-based R&L Carriers Inc., was involved in two compensable accidents in 2012 — one in January and another in July — resulting in injuries to his shoulder, neck and low back, according to court records.

R&L Carriers authorized medical care with several providers prior to receiving workers comp records from the state of Ohio, which showed that Mr. Clark had a prior workers comp claim and was treated for similar injuries in the past. Mr. Clark “engaged in fairly extensive litigation” regarding his prior injuries, according to records.

R&L Carriers argued that Mr. Clark should not be entitled to benefits because it's against the law in Florida “to make, or cause to be made, any false, fraudulent, or misleading oral or written statement for the purpose of securing compensation,” according to records.

A Florida judge of compensation claims found that Mr. Clark's claims were barred “due to his misrepresentations, which occurred when he failed to advise his doctors of his prior injuries.” And upon learning of Mr. Clark's prior injuries and complaints, both treating physicians revised their opinions, records show.

Mr. Clark argued that there was no “competent substantial evidence” to support the judge's findings because neither of his treating physicians asked him directly about any prior low back problems, according to records. Rather, both physicians focused on Mr. Clark's history of prior neck and shoulder complaints.

Meanwhile, an expert medical adviser testified that Mr. Clark “affirmatively gave an inaccurate and incomplete medical history about his prior 'extensive low back problems,'” records show.

And at the final hearing, the judge rejected Mr. Clark's testimony that he didn't remember his prior injuries, according to records.

Florida's 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee on Tuesday upheld the judge's decision to deny benefits.

“The record contains evidence of multiple instances of (Mr. Clark's) affirmative misrepresentation of his medical history to the authorized medical providers, the (expert medical advisor), and the (judge of compensation claims),” the ruling states.