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Ford must pay benefits in cumulative trauma claims



On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Kentucky upheld a series of previous rulings awarding workers benefits to a Ford Motor Co. construction worker who suffered injuries to her neck and spine as a result of repeated movements dating back to 2007.

Deborah Duckworth started working for Ford Motor Co. 1998 as a fitter at the Kentucky Truck Factory. She worked 10 hours a day, five days a week. From 2007, she began working in a department at the assembly plant that required her to "constantly bend her neck" up and down "" and "to constantly hit her back," according to documents in Ford Motor Company v Deborah Duckworth; John H. McCracken, Judge of the Administrative Court; and Workers & # 39; Compensation Board, filed in Frankfort.

Ms. Duckworth "testified that she would repeat this operation about 300 times a day" and that she "began to have pain and spasms in the neck and back but despite these symptoms she continued her" tasks for several years, sometimes treated by the company doctor and continues temporarily total disability 201

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Back at work in 2012, Duckworth was hit on the head by equipment and aggravated her neck pain. Several months later, she fell at work, which aggravated her neck symptoms, according to documents.

During a subsequent medical evaluation, a doctor examined “Duckworth's gait and tested her reflexes. He meant that something was wrong, "it says in the documents. An MRI revealed the need for neck surgery, after which she "continued to have weakness in her lower extremities" and was referred for further examination of her lumbar spine, which resulted in back surgery.

Ms. Duckworth wrote in her benefits form that she had suffered "work-related cumulative trauma to her back and neck during work" since 2007, continued to "work and perform (same tasks) and suffered cumulative trauma to her neck and back."

the plaintiff worked several jobs that caused accelerated cumulative trauma to the neck and culminated in worsening MRI findings in 2013 and resulted in surgery, according to documents.

Ford filed a special response to her workers' compensation claim "claiming that Duckworth's claims for neck injuries and back that was manifested (2007) was hindered by the statute of limitations ", which is two years from the time of the injury. [19659002]

The state court and a judge in the administrative court ruled that the date of injury is not prohibited, as she was not determined by doctors to have cumulative trauma until 2013. ] Ford argued in the most recent appeal that the Administrative Court Judge "exceeded the scope of his authority and

The Supreme Court upheld the previous rulings and wrote that the judge "has the power to determine the date of manifestation of cumulative trauma injury and apply the law of fact-checking correctly in this case by establish that Duckworth's assertion was not delayed. "

The court also wrote that state law "requires a complainant to submit her claim no later than the date of the manifestation, ie the date on which a doctor is informed by a doctor that her cumulative trauma injury is work-related, or the date of the latest payment of income benefits. "The court wrote that she" fulfilled this requirement by filing her claim within two years of … 2011, the last (temporary total disability) payment date. "Since she filed her claim in 2013, it was not prohibited by state law, and "ALJ did not exceed his authority."
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