Ruling giving driver permanent partial disability benefits affirmedPosted On: Jan. 30, 2019 12:52 PM CST
The Supreme Court of Tennessee on Tuesday affirmed an earlier ruling on a delivery driver’s permanent partial disability following a back injury all the while finding errors in an earlier court’s reasoning, yet citing the oversights as “harmless.”
Christopher Batey in 2016 filed a petition for benefit determination with the Tennessee Bureau of Workers' Compensation, seeking permanent disability benefits for a back injury he suffered in 2015 while bending over to wrap a pallet as a driver for the logistics firm Deliver This Inc., according to documents in Christopher Batey v. Deliver This Inc., filed in Nashville.
A trial court determined that he was entitled to 275 weeks of permanent partial disability benefits pursuant to Tennessee law. On appeal, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board affirmed that the trial court's judgment erred in "defining an employee's burden of proof” under state law and in defining the phrase “employee's pre-injury occupation” as used, but concluded that “the errors were harmless under the circumstances presented,” according to documents.
The high court on Tuesday unanimously agreed with the decision of the appellate board, similarly writing “we conclude these errors were harmless under the circumstances presented and, therefore, affirm the trial court's determinations as to Employee's entitlement to permanent partial disability benefits.”
Both the appeals court and the state Supreme Court, however, denied a motion by Mr. Batey for prejudgment interest on his claim, citing the exclusive remedy provision in the state’s comp law.
Officials with Deliver This and its insurer could not immediately be reached for comment.