Carr Allison attorneys Jennifer Haley-Gleason and Cassandra DeCoste recently defended a Florida Workers’ Compensation Petition for Benefits which sought authorization of medical benefits for a workplace accident and alleged injury to the lower back. The claim was initially denied by the carrier upon discovery of an extensive history of treatment for pre-existing low back conditions. Ms. Haley-Gleason and Ms. DeCoste developed the necessary medical evidence through the direct testimony of their independent medical evaluator to support their denial of the claim. They also weakened the strength of the claimant’s case with a strategic and knowledgeable cross-examination of the claimant’s IME physician.
At the final hearing on the Petition, the JCC found the medical opinions of the carrier’s IME more persuasive than those opinions of the claimant’s IME. The JCC further relied on the adverse concessions made by the claimant’s IME during cross-examination by Ms. DeCoste to arrive at the ultimate result: all issues under the Petition for Benefits were denied with prejudice. This is an excellent result for the employer/carrier as the JCC determination that the major contributing cause of the need for treatment is the claimant’s idiopathic/pre-existing condition likely precludes award of other future benefits including but not limited to permanent total disability.