4% Impairment, $1.4m Payout for Wrist Injury
The worker was employed as a concrete truck driver. During a concrete pour she noticed the chute was stiff and was difficult to rotate in / out. She reported the issue to the plant operator (not her PCBU) about the issue. The plant operator was not the worker’s employer, it contracted the work. The plant operator applied grease to the chute. The chute was still stiff; however, the injured worker was instructed by the plant operator there was one last delivery to do.
After the final concrete pour, the worker was attempting to rotate the chute back into travel position when her wrist was injured. She reported the injury and completed an incident report.
Initial examinations found a low-grade strain as well as swelling of tendons. After conservative treatments failed, surgery was performed to “release” the tendons of the wrist / thumb. Despite the tendons recovering well, the worker was left with radial pain / numbness due to a nerve injury that occurred during surgery.
After the symptoms failed to subside, two independent medical examiners (IME) diagnosed the worker with swelling of the tendons and a nerve injury resulting in a 4% whole person impairment.
There was disagreement from doctors as to the ongoing effects of the injury as well as whether the worker could return to her original duties or not.
The Court’s Finding
The court found in favor of the injured worker and awarded $1,360,387.34 in damages primarily composed of past and future economic losses.
The worker’s direct employer was liable for $633,253.53.
The patching plant operator (who engaged the worker as a contractor) was liable for $727,133.81.
Full court summary can be found here.
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