An appellate court in Colorado on Thursday confirmed the refusal and termination of a claim filed by a head injury engineer claiming the long-term consequences of his injury including a rare form of narcolepsy that his doctor said was "traumatic in origin."
Joseph Yeutter worked as a control engineer for Fort Collin, Colorado-based CBW Automation Inc. when in August 2012 he sustained "serious injuries in a work-related accident when he fought his head and shoulder and hit the ground by a robot arm", according to documents in Joseph Yeutter v Industrial Claim Appeals Office of the State of Colorado; CBW Automation, Inc.; and Pinnacol Assurance, Respondents, filed in the Court of Appeal of Colorado, Division V., based in Denver.
Mr. Yeutter damage included a skull fracture, close injury, a broken arm and fractures to both of his orbital outlets. He returned to work two weeks later, but within two months switched to another company.
However, more than a year after the incident, Mr. Yeuter's physical injuries "stopped hurting so much" but he reported that he felt tired. In July 201
Another doctor then offered the notion that the plaintiff "is seriously impaired as a result of his narcolepsy and other trauma-related conditions, and his forecast at this time is guarded," states state. "
In 2015, Mr. Yeutter was considered to be at the maximum medical improvement of his primary physician, who also determined that he was suffering from" narcolepsy, hypersomnia, probably related to traumatic brain injury, managed with stimulant medication. "The doctor recommended that he" continue his current medication ", adding that Mr. Yeutter" could not work and should be indefinite ", rating his permanent deterioration in 67% of the entire person.
Meanwhile, three psychic and medical experts retained by CBW Automation have been disagree with the doctor's assessment, one of those who testifies to a second sleep study confirming the applicant's drug disorder diagnosis, but that the doctor "was skeptical that it was work-related because available medical literature had not shown a causal relationship
The employer accepted his permanent partial disability based on a 39% overall assessment, but denied permanent total disability and maintenance expenditure.
At hearings before an administrative judge, CBW Automation and Mr. Yeutter offered conflicting evidence.
A professional consultant testified on behalf of the plaintiff, considering that the applicant had no work restrictions "from a physical point of view", she concluded with a doctor's opinion that Mr. Yeuter's problem of "alertness, the ability to be productive day in and day out and what would be necessary pharmacologically" for him to maintain employment, made him unable to "return to work at that time."
On the other hand, CBW Automation retained a vocational rehabilitation counselor who offered the perception that the plaintiff "can work and earn a salary" Yeutters "computer adeptness, engineering experience, and military background as transferable skills that an applicant could find to find employment" and identified a dozen professions. who matched his abilities.
The employer also introduced the opinions of two additional independent medical practitioners to support their view that the plaintiff was not permanently completely suspended or required ongoing maintenance medicine, care, record state.
After two days of hearings and "the admission of hundreds of pages of journals", the administrator judge found that Mr Yeutter failed to show that it was "probably true but not what his narcolepsy was caused by his … industrial accident while working for the employer" and that "the bulk of the medical evidence supports the determination that the applicant has the ability to earn wages in some capacity." In appeal, a panel confirmed this judgment "for substantive evidence supporting (faculty judge's) factual facts on these issues," records state ".  On Thursday, the Court of Appeal quoted state law in its confirmation of the panel's decision and decided that "an applicant is permanent and completely disabled, and thus entitled to compensation for permanent total invalidity, if he or she cannot earn any salary in the same or other employment. "
The applicant's lawyer, Scott Eley, of Ele y Law Firm LLC in Denver wrote in an email to Business Insurance that" the decision means that injured workers are in an uncertain state of having to dispute the cause of their injury even after it has already been determined by an independent doctor. "
The company and other lawyers concerned could not be immediately reached for comments.