Walls, 012821 ARWC, G703705

Docket Nº:WCC G703705
Case Date:January 28, 2021
WCC No. G703705
Arkansas Workers Compensation
Before the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission
January 28, 2021
         Hearing before Administrative Law Judge O. Milton Fine II on November 5, 2020, in Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas.           Claimant represented by Mr. Andy Caldwell, Attorney at Law, Little Rock, Arkansas.           Respondents represented by Mr. Jason M. Ryburn, Attorney at Law, Little Rock, Arkansas.          OPINION           Hon. O. Milton Fine II, Chief Administrative Law Judge.          STATEMENT OF THE CASE          On November 5, 2020, the above-captioned claim was heard in Little Rock, Arkansas. A prehearing conference took place on June 1, 2020. A prehearing order entered on that date pursuant to the conference was admitted without objection as Commission Exhibit 1. At the hearing, the parties confirmed that the stipulations, issues, and respective contentions, as amended, were properly set forth in the order.          Stipulations          At the hearing, the parties discussed the stipulations set forth in Commission Exhibit 1. With an amendment of the fourth, they are the following, which I accept:
1. The Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission has jurisdiction over this claim.
2. The employee/employer relationship existed on April 1, 2016, and at all other relevant times.
3. Respondents initially accepted this claim insofar as it pertained to Claimant’s left hip and leg. But they are now controverting the claim in its entirety.
4. Claimant’s average weekly wage of $530.00 entitles her to compensation rates of $354.00/$267.00.
         Issues          At the hearing, the parties discussed the issues set forth in Commission Exhibit 1. After the amendment of Issue No. 3 and the reservation of Issue Nos. 3 and 5, concerning Claimant’s alleged entitlement to temporary total disability benefits and a controverted attorney’s fee, the following were litigated:
1. Whether the statute of limitations bars the back injury portion of this claim.
2. Whether Claimant sustained a compensable injury to her left leg, left hip, and back by specific incident.
3. When did Claimant furnish notice of the back injury portion of this claim?
4. Whether Claimant is entitled to reasonable and necessary medical treatment.
         All other issues have been reserved.          Contentions          The respective contentions of the parties, following amendments, read as follows:          Claimant:          1. Claimant contends that she sustained a compensable injury to her back, left hip and left leg on April 1, 2016 in the course and scope of her employment with the respondent employer. Respondents initially accepted the left hip and left leg claim as compensable and paid certain benefits. They have controverted Claimant’s entitlement to additional benefits, and they have controverted the back injury entirely. Respondents have never asserted a statute of limitations defense as it pertains to the back injury. Claimant initially complained of left hip and leg pain and received treatment pertained thereto. On January 2, 2019, her physician indicated that her pain was coming from her back and she has had treatment for her back since that time. This was a latent injury; and therefore, the statute of limitations does not bar her back claim. Respondents did not display the statutorily required notice, either. Thus, they should be estopped from asserting the statute of limitations defense.          2. Claimant also contends that she is entitled to reasonable and necessary medical treatment (including prescription and mileage reimbursement). All other issues are reserved.          Respondents:          1. Respondents contend that the claimant did not sustain a compensable injury to her hip or back. There are no objective medical findings in the record of an acute injury. She suffers from...

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