Syfrett, 121416 ARWC, G502686

Docket Nº:G502686
Case Date:December 14, 2016
No. G502686
Arkansas Workers Compensation
Before the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission
December 14, 2016
         Hearing before Administrative Law Judge James D. Kennedy on the 16th day of November, 2016 in Mountain Home, Arkansas.           Claimant was represented by Mr. Frederick S. “Rick” Spencer, Attorney at Law, Mountain Home, Arkansas.           Respondents are represented by Ms. Katie Bodenhamer, Attorney at Law, North Little Rock, Arkansas.           JAMES D. KENNEDY, Administrative Law Judge.          STATEMENT OF THE CASE          A hearing was conducted on the 16th day of November, 2016, to determine the issue of additional medical for claimant’s left knee and the respondent contends that all appropriate medical has been paid. The issue of the constitutionality of the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Act and the statute of limitations was dropped.          A pre-hearing conference was conducted on the 26th day of September, 2016, and a Pre-hearing Order was filed in this matter on said date. A copy of the Pre-hearing Order was marked “Commissions Exhibit 1" and made a part of the record without objection. It was stipulated that the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission has jurisdiction of the claim and that an employer/employee relationship existed on May 14, 2013, the date of the injury. It was further stipulated that the claimant earned sufficient wages for an indemnity rate of $20.00 a week. Two witnesses were called by the claimant, Pamela Sue Syfrett and Wilbur C. Syfrett, the claimant. From a review of the record as a whole, to include medical reports and other matters properly before the Commission, and having had an opportunity to hear the testimony of the witnesses and to observe their demeanor, the following findings of fact and conclusions of law are made in accordance with Ark. Code Ann. §11-9-704.          FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCUSSIONS OF LAW          1. The Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission has jurisdiction over this claim.          2. The stipulations agreed to by the parties are hereby accepted as fact.          3. The claimant has satisfied the burden of proof to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he is entitled to additional medical for his left knee due to a work related injury, specifically the injections that were requested for the left knee as well as reimbursement for any out of pocket medical expenses for prior injections if they were not reimbursed.          REVIEW OF TESTIMONY AND EVIDENCE          The first witness called was the claimant, Wilbur C. Syfrett, a resident of Gassville, Arkansas, and who was born on January 30, 1960. Claimant testified that he has been married to Pamela Syfrett for about eight years and that as far as education has a GED and some college. Claimant also stated that he worked for the city of Gassville as a volunteer fireman. (Tr. 5) On May 14th, 2013, the claimant testified that there was a structure fire and that he was pulling a fire hose around the side of the building to get a good vantage point to put the fire out. The fire hose is very heavy, a gallon of water weighing around eight pounds and the water line was charged and the line was about 100 feet. The claimant stated that he tripped over a rock and struck his left knee and upper body on a series of rocks. Prior to this injury, he was not having any real problems with his left knee. He had been with the Gassville volunteer fire department roughly 12 years. (Tr. 6) The claimant further stated that he was no longer with the Gassville Fire Department, but that he was the assistant chief at the time of the incident, and that he was able to do all the physical things that were required. Currently he is the fire chief of the Buford fire department. As a fire chief, he does not have to do as much exertion as a regular fireman. (Tr. 7)          After the fall over the rock, the claimant went to the doctor on May 15, the day after the fall. Claimant testified that “prior to falling” he had trouble with his leg years and years ago, but for probably 20 years he had no problem. Once he fell on the rock, it has been painful ever since. (Tr. 8) Claimant first went to the ER at Baxter Regional and then went to see his doctor, Doctor Valach, a general practitioner, and then to Doctor Knox, an orthopedic surgeon, who he had seen previously. Approximately 20 years ago Doctor Knox performed an invasive surgery and put in cadaver bone and the knee got much better. Claimant stated that he didn’t have issues with it until after the fall. (Tr. 9) Claimant testified when asked, that Doctor Knox has said the reason that he wants to keep doing injections and treatment is because of the injury. Claimant testified that is what he is asking for. (Tr. 10) In regard to the pain, the claimant stated that there are good days and bad, but that he has not been pain free since the date of the injury. On a good day, the pain is mild, maybe a two. A month is about half good days and half bad days. (Tr. 11) On a bad day, the pain is about a seven or eight. I can no longer hold a clutch on a truck because of the position of my leg. I did not have that problem prior to the accident. (Tr. 12)          Claimant also testified that he had been to see Doctor Sidini, when Doctor Knox refused to treat him due to something to do with workers’ compensation. Claimant stated that he used his insurance and out of pocket money to see Doctor Sidini and that Doctor Sidini will give him the injections for $300.00 and that as soon as he can get the...

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