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Supreme Court OKs requirements for long-distance truck driver with blood clots



The Utah Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a denial of benefits to a truck driver for blood clots he developed after making a three-day trip to California.

David Hickey worked as a long distance driver for JBS Carriers. Over the course of three days, Hickey drove through several states and logged up to nine hours in one day, according to JBS Carriers v. Labor Commission, filed in Salt Lake City.

On the third day, Mr. Hickey experience swelling in the left leg and shortness of breath. He went to a hospital, where he was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis, which had caused pulmonary embolism. He spent 16 days in the hospital and when he was released he could not work.

Mr. Hickey filed a claim for workers̵

7; compensation, claiming that the blood clots were caused by the second day of his trip. JBS disputed the claim, claiming that his injuries were the result of pre-existing obesity, not his employment.

An administrative court judge appointed a medical panel and finally denied the allegation and dealt with Mr. Hiccups obesity as a pre-existing condition. It applied the test from the 1986 case Allen v. Industrial Commission to determine whether Hickey’s employment was the legal cause of his injuries.

The “Allen test” is used to distinguish between injuries resulting from a pre-existing condition that occurs only by chance during work and those triggered by an employment activity that increased the risk that the employee normally faces in life outside working life.

The Labor Commission’s Board of Appeal turned around and found that Hickey’s long truck journey was an unusual activity compared to a non-working life.

The Court of Appeal reversed and found that Hickey’s work activities were not unusual or extraordinary under Allen, noting that the board had not found that Hickey was prevented from taking breaks and that no requirement of the job prevented him from extending his inactive left leg.

On appeal, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that “driving a commercial truck for about nine hours in a day with only a break, with a motionless left leg, is not equivalent to ordinary, everyday non-work activities.”

WorkCompCentral is a sister magazine to Business Insurance. More stories here.


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