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The Court of Appeal for the 1st District of Florida ruled that a worker’s claim for benefits for an alleged injury to his neck and back was not timely filed and that there were “serious gaps regarding causation in the hospital records.”
In 2019 Eddy Bonhomme was employed by Staff Team Hotels Corp., a hotel staffing company, when he was asked to work with another employee and help carry mattresses.
Mr. Bonhomme testified that he made six trips carrying mattresses. On the fourth trip, he “felt a tingling from head to toe on the right side" as if his right side was being “twisted,” he said. He finished moving the rest of the mattresses and did not tell his employer about the incident, according to Bonhomme v. Staff Team Hotels Corp.
Mr. Bonhomme went to work three days later and worked a full day. That night, he allegedly awoke with “numbness,” “tingling,” “muscle weakness” and “blurred vision.” He called 911 and was transported by ambulance to an emergency room.
There is no indication in the records that he reported at the hospital any complaint of neck or back pain. Emergency room personnel did not diagnose him with any back or neck injury during this visit. Instead, they chalked up his symptoms to heat exhaustion and sent him home.
Over the next few weeks, Mr. Bonhomme made repeated trips to the emergency room. The records from those visits do not indicate any complaint of neck or back pain until an emergency room doctor mentioned to him the possibility of a cervical sprain but without a formal diagnosis.
Mr. Bonhomme did not notify his employer of an injury until nearly two months after carrying the mattresses. He filed a workers compensation claim, which a judge of compensation claims denied.
The Court of Appeal for the 1st District of Florida said “Bonhomme put himself in a difficult spot in connection with his claim,” as “the hospital records from Bonhomme's multiple emergency room visits tell one story, and his later testimony given in the context of his petition for benefits tells a different story.”
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