Parks v. Home Depot USA
July 20, 2015
CategoriesPartial Incapacity Partial Incapacity Subsequent Non-Work Injury
Partial Incapacity Non-Work Injury Knee Work Search
Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys
A hearing officer can award 100% partial incapacity benefits during a short period of time when the employee is out of work but expected to return to work; once the employment relationship ends, however, the employee must perform a work search to qualify for 100% partial. If the work injury produces partial disability and a subsequent non-work injury adds to disability to produce total disability, the employee must still do a work-search to qualify for 100% partial for the work injury.
Parks injured his left knee at work, had surgery, and returned to full-duty work. His right knee also began to hurt, but it was deemed not work-related. Parks’ doctor restricted him to part-time work, and Home Depot terminated his employment when he needed surgery on his right knee. H.O. Greene awarded Parks 100% partial benefits, and Home Depot appealed.
The panel found that the initial award of 100% partial benefits was appropriate, as Parks was still an employee of Home Depot and expected to return to work there. The panel reversed the award of ongoing 100% partial benefits, however, holding that Parks failed to submit a good faith work search after he became totally incapacitated by his left knee, and it remanded the case to H.O. Greene to determine the extent of incapacity related to his work injury alone.