Attorneys Macrina Jerabek and Billie Addleman recently obtained a favorable ruling from the Office of Administrative Hearings in a worker’s compensation contested case. In that case, an employee of a large northern Wyoming coal mine filed a worker’s compensation claim alleging his infectious disease was the result of a workplace injury. The claimant, a diabetic, asserted that he stepped on a bolt at work causing an infectious disease process leading to multiple amputations including the loss of his leg below the knee. Initially, the Worker’s Compensation Division (“Division”) found the injury was not compensable. Subsequently, the Division’s retained infectious disease expert opined that the infectious disease was causally connected and the result of stepping on the bolt. As a result, the Division determined the injury was work related and issued a new final redetermination on compensability. After the final redetermination was issued, Hirst Applegate entered an appearance on behalf of the mine and objected to compensability. During the course of discovery, the claimant admitted the incident of stepping on a bolt occurred sixteen days prior to presenting to the emergency room with symptoms of the infectious disease. Based on that admission, the Division’s retained expert changed his opinions and concluded that the passage of time was too great to connect the bolt incident with the development of the infectious disease. Following the presentation of evidence at the contested case hearing, and relying on the infectious disease expert’s testimony, the Hearing Examiner found the injury was not compensable and ruled in favor of the employer mine.
Hirst Applegate regularly represents employers in worker’s compensation matters including contested case hearings. For more information on this area of the law, please contact Billie LM Addleman or Macrina Jerabek at 307.632.0541.