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Worker’s Claim Too Early, Without Evidence: Court



Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that a worker’s claim for benefits for an alleged injury to his neck and back was not timely filed and that there were “serious gaps regarding causation in the hospital’s records.”

In 2019, Eddy Bonhomme was employed by Staff Team Hotels Corp., a hotel staffing company, when he was asked to work with another employee and help carry mattresses.

Mr. Bonhomme testified that he made six trips with mattresses. On the fourth trip, he “felt a tingling sensation from head to toe on the right side” as if his right side was “twisting,” he said. He finished moving the rest of the mattresses and did not tell his employer about the incident, according to Bonhomme v. Staff Team Hotels Corp.

Mr. Bonhomme went to work three days later and worked a full day. That night he allegedly woke up with “numbness”

;, “tingles”, “muscle weakness” and “blurred vision”. He called 911 and was taken by ambulance to the emergency room.

There is nothing in the medical record to indicate that he reported any complaints of neck or back pain to the hospital. Emergency personnel did not diagnose him with any back or neck injury during this visit. Instead, they chalked his symptoms up to heat exhaustion and sent him home.

Over the next few weeks, Bonhomme made repeated trips to the emergency room. The records from these visits do not indicate any complaints of neck or back pain until an emergency physician mentioned to him the possibility of a cervical sprain but without a formal diagnosis.

Mr. Bonhomme did not notify his employer of an injury until nearly two months after wearing the mattresses. He filed a workers’ compensation claim, which a compensation claims judge denied.

Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeal said “Bonhomme put himself in a difficult position in connection with his claim,” because “the hospital records from Bonhomme’s multiple emergency room visits tell a story, and his later testimony given in connection with his application for benefits tells another story.”

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


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