Associate Hayley Graham tried the first in-person workers’ compensation hearing during the COVID-19 pandemic in Chicago on June 15. Hayley received a very favorable award of all benefits at trial. Our client is a beer delivery driver, who delivers 5,000 cases of beer each week, unloading and stocking the product in large grocery and liquor stores.
The constant heavy lifting on a daily basis caused an injury to his lumbar spine and he suffered a herniated disc. His injury was exacerbated by stepping awkwardly off the back of his truck, which led to the need for surgery.
The workers’ compensation insurance company disputed the injury, arguing that it was not a result of his job-related duties, but the result of regular wear and tear on the spine. The insurance company denied all benefits, including payment for his time off work, medical expenses and for the permanent nature of the injuries.
The Arbitrator disagreed and issued a trial award in our favor, finding that the injury was work related and directing the insurance company to pay for all of the client’s medical treatment and time missed from work. Additionally, the Arbitrator found that the client had suffered a permanent injury and awarded benefits accordingly. The case is currently pending on review before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.