An Illinois appellate court has partially reversed a decision by the Workers’ Compensation Commission overturning an arbitrator’s award of temporary total disability benefits to a retail worker injured during a December 2018 workplace accident.
IN McGaha v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation CommissionThe Fifth District Court of Appeals in Illinois on Tuesday reversed in part a decision by the May Wayne County Circuit Court that sided with the Worker’s Compensation Commission that Dollar General Corp. employee Nathaniel McGaha failed to prove causation between his injuries and the store incident.
Mr. McGaha applied for workers’ comp in June 2019 after injuring his elbow while unloading goods.
In March 2020, an arbitrator ruled that McGaha̵7;s injuries resulted from his workplace accident, and awarded him medical expenses, medical treatment, and temporary total disability benefits, but denied his request for attorney’s fees.
On review, the Workers’ Compensation Commission reversed the award of temporary total disability benefits and medical treatment because Mr. McGaha failed to prove that his carpal and cubital tunnel syndrome were causally related to the work accident.
Mr. McGaha fell into a frozen lake while trying to rescue his dog in February 2019, two months after the work accident, and while he initially denied any further arm damage, the employer questioned the connection between any nerve problems and the frozen lake incident.
The commission modified the arbitrator’s assessment of medical expenses due to the existence of the frozen lake incident.
However, the appeals court said the evidence weighed in McGaha’s favor because, despite the commission’s decision, he was not required to present a medical report proving his treatment was linked to the workplace accident and not the frozen lake incident.
The Court of Appeal upheld the circuit court’s denial of penalties and attorney’s fees.