A South Carolina appeals court has ruled that an injured bakery worker should have been allowed to receive additional workers’ compensation benefits after a 2016 on-the-job injury.
The South Carolina Court of Appeals found Wednesday that Mary Hickman was entitled to additional medical care related to her Aug. 22, 2016, injury.
Ms. Hickman, who worked as a tortilla stacker for Ruiz Foods, slipped and fell on the concrete floor, injuring her knee, elbow and back.
She received medical treatment for two years and later applied for additional benefits including additional medical care and temporary total disability benefits.
The employer denied the claim for additional benefits, arguing that knee problems that Ms. Hickman̵7;s experience was not related to the work incident. A commissioner found that Ms. Hickman had maximum medical improvement and was not entitled to further care, and a lower appeals panel upheld the finding.
In South Carolina, employers are not responsible for medical care beyond 10 weeks unless the commission determines that the treatment will reduce the disability.
Hickman argued that the commission erred in determining her period of disability would not be shortened by continued medical treatment. The appeals court agreed, ruling that the commission wrongly determined that the knee problems were “resolved” when Hickman requested additional benefits.
The court said a doctor who carried out an independent medical evaluation determined that the knee injury had “improved”, but was not “resolved”.
The court remanded the case to the commission and ordered that Hickman be granted continued medical treatment.