Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 4 of 4 items for

  • Author or Editor: David Torrey x
  • Refine by Access: All content x
Clear All Modify Search
Justin D. Beck
and
Judge David B. Torrey

Abstract

Medical evaluators must understand the context for the impairment assessments they perform. This article exemplifies issues that arise based on the role of impairment ratings and what edition of the AMA Guides to the Impairment of Permanent Impairment (AMA Guides) is used. This discussion also raises interesting legal questions related to retroactivity, applicability of prior precedent, and delegation. On June 20, 2017, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania handed down its decision, Protz v. WCAB (Derry Area Sch. Dist.), which disallows use of the “most recent edition” of the AMA Guides when determining partial disability entitlement under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. An attempted solution was passed by the Pennsylvania General Assembly and was signed into law Act 111 on October 24, 2018. Although it affirms that the AMA Guides, Sixth Edition, must be used for impairment ratings, the law reduces the threshold for total disability benefits from 50% to 35% impairment. This legislative adjustment benefited injured workers but sparked additional litigation about whether, when, and how the adjustment should be applied (excerpts from the laws and decisions discussed by the authors are included at the end of the article). In using impairment as a threshold for permanent disability benefits, evaluators must distinguish between impairment and disability and determine an appropriate threshold; they also must be aware of the compensation and adjudication process and of the jurisdictions in which they practice.

in AMA Guides® Newsletter
Christopher R. Brigham
,
Henry Bennett
, and
Hon. David Torrey
in AMA Guides® Newsletter
Les Kertay
,
Marjorie Eskay-Auerbach
,
Mark H. Hyman
,
David Torrey
, and
WC Judge
in AMA Guides® Newsletter
Lorne Direnfeld
,
David B. Torrey
,
Jim Black
,
LuAnn Haley
, and
Christopher R. Brigham

Abstract

When an individual falls due to a nonwork-related episode of dizziness, hits their head and sustains injury, do workers’ compensation laws consider such injuries to be compensable? Bearing in mind that each state makes its own laws, the answer depends on what caused the loss of consciousness, and the second asks specifically what happened in the fall that caused the injury? The first question speaks to medical causation, which applies scientific analysis to determine the cause of the problem. The second question addresses legal causation: Under what factual circumstances are injuries of this type potentially covered under the law? Much nuance attends this analysis. The authors discuss idiopathic falls, which in this context means “unique to the individual” as opposed to “of unknown cause,” which is the familiar medical terminology. The article presents three detailed case studies that describe falls that had their genesis in episodes of loss of consciousness, followed by analyses by lawyer or judge authors who address the issue of compensability, including three scenarios from Arizona, California, and Pennsylvania. A medical (scientific) analysis must be thorough and must determine the facts regarding the fall and what occurred: Was the fall due to a fit (eg, a seizure with loss of consciousness attributable to anormal brain electrical activity) or a faint (eg, loss of consciousness attributable to a decrease in blood flow to the brain? The evaluator should be able to fully explain the basis for the conclusions, including references to current science.

in AMA Guides® Newsletter