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A Claimant Wins Benefits, Even After Retirement

| Jan 19, 2021 | Firm News |

In another case with a refreshingly positive outcome, a claimant was awarded benefits, even though the claimant had already retired prior to receiving the award. See Correctional officer secures PPD benefits for 15% under § 8(e). Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Bulletin, Volume 28, Issue 16, November 13, 2020, pp. 5-6.[1]  The case discussed in the article, Dreon v. Pontiac Correctional Center, 28 ILWCLB 172 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2020), involved a claimant that was injured at her place of employment, while having gone into work on one of her days off to hand in mileage-related documents, so she would be approved for a road trip to a work-related meeting in another city. The claimant entered an administration building, and upon stepping off a rug and onto the building’s bare floor, she slipped and fell on some accumulated wax and moisture, landing on her left knee.[2]  The claimant thereafter began to feel pain in her aforesaid knee, with her knee promptly becoming swollen.  An MRI scan was performed of the claimant’s knee, which indicated that she had suffered a meniscal tear.[3]  The claimant then underwent surgery and physical therapy, and three weeks later was released from treatment with no work-related restrictions.  The claimant subsequently retired, but in the years following her surgery and therapy, she still continued to experience pain, which also became progressively worse and prevented her from engaging in certain activities as well, and the claimant did not receive any additional treatment for her left knee.[4]  At trial, the Arbitrator awarded the claimant, under Section 8(e) of the Worker’s Compensation Act (WCA), a 25% loss of the use of the claimant’s left leg, which the employer appealed.[5]  However, the Commission basically affirmed the Arbitrator’s award, but reduced it to 15% from the original award of 25%, holding that since the claimant was still experiencing pain and swelling in her left knee, she was entitled to some benefits, even though they were somewhat reduced by the Commission, and despite the fact that the claimant had already retired, the fact of which did not affect the Commission’s decision.[6]  The Commission reviewed the five factors found in WCA Section 8.1(b), in determining the percentage of the claimant’s overall award, paying particular attention to the fifth factor, which was evidence of (the claimant’s) disability.  Again, as the claimant was still experiencing tenderness, swelling and throbbing pain in her left knee, over eight years after her accident and resulting treatment, the Commission held that the evidence of the claimant’s lingering pain and swelling indicated that she should still receive benefits.[7]  Finally, it is worth noting that the claimant was represented by my employer, The Law Offices of Peter F. Ferracuti, P.C., which made this case’s outcome even more satisfying.

[1]See Correctional officer secures PPD benefits for 15% under § 8(e). Illinois Worker’s Compensation Law Bulletin (also cited as ILWCLB), Volume 28, Issue 16, November 13, 2020, pp. 5-6.

[1]See Id at 6.
[1]See Id at 6.
[1]See Id at 6.
[1]See Id at 6.
[1]See Id at 6.
[1]See Id at 6.

Attorney Matthew Ludwinski