The Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner entered an Appeal Decision on March 17, 2021 in the case of Baker vs. MSC Industrial Direct Co. and Ace American Insurance Co. The Claimant was injured when a cabinet weighing between 750 and 1,000 pounds fell on him on April 17, 2017. The Claimant’s main problems were headaches, thinking, memory and frequent seizure-like episodes. The Claimant never returned to work after this injury. The work comp insurance company directed the care in the case and the Claimant was seen by many health care providers. The health care providers generally believed the Claimant had suffered a concussion and traumatic head injury that resulted in serious lingering problems.
The workers’ compensation insurance company solicited multiple defense medical opinions from non-treating physicians, and on the basis of these defense medical opinions terminated paying weekly benefits and providing medical care approximately three years after the injury.
The case came on for trial in front of a Deputy Workers’ Compensation Commissioner on March 9, 2020, and the trial decision was filed on July 31, 2020 finding in favor of the employer and insurance carrier on the issues of weekly benefits and medical care. The Deputy Commissioner relied on the opinions of the non-treating medical experts. Three defense experts provided opinions based on record reviews without meeting the Claimant. One additional expert met the Claimant on one occasion. The defense experts gave the opinions that the Claimant’s problems were never correlated with any objective findings, and in various ways suggested that the Claimant had other stressors in his life, and he was taking advantage of the work incident.