Levinson Axelrod, P.A. Attorney Roberto Benites recently secured a favorable workers’ compensation ruling for a construction worker who suffered hip and knee injuries after a work-related fall.
After fully litigating a motion for medical benefits and temporary disability, Benites prevailed in securing an order for the workers’ compensation insurance carrier to provide our client with hip replacement surgery, as well as weekly tax-free temporary disability benefits while he undergoes post-operative therapy.
About the Case
Attorney Benites’ client had been working on a construction site when he fell five feet to the ground from the back of a work truck, injuring his left hip and knee. He sought medical treatment in the ER the following day, where X-rays were taken. The images revealed arthritic changes in the left hip which were significant.
The workers’ compensation carrier, NJM, directed our client to a Concentra clinic, where he was prescribed physical therapy for his left hip and left knee. After several weeks, NJM then referred our client to a specialist, who focused solely on the man’s knee injury, and ignored complaints about his hip. An MRI confirmed a torn medial meniscus in the left knee, and our client underwent surgery, followed by another prescribed round of physical therapy.
Though medical records from the physical therapist indicated our client’s main complaint was left hip pain, NJM’s specialist continued to ignore his hip injury, and discharged our client without providing any treatment for his hip.
It was at this point the worker retained Levinson Axelrod and Attorney Benites, who sent him to a joint replacement surgeon. Based on reviews of X-rays and medical records which showed our client had no history of complaints about or treatment to his left hip prior to his work accident, the surgeon determined a hip replacement surgery was causally related to his work accident. The doctor issued a report opining our client’s fall at work aggravated previously asymptomatic left hip arthritis.
Motion for Medical Treatment & Temporary Disability Benefits
With findings from the joint replacement surgeon, Attorney Benites filed a motion for medical treatment with the workers’ compensation court. The specialist to whom our client was referred by NJM again evaluated our client, and now opined that while he did need a hip replacement, it was due to pre-existing arthritis which was not impacted by the accident at work.
Over the course of three days, Attorney Benites litigated the motion for medical treatment and temporary disability. Both our client and the joint replacement surgeon testified in the case, and during cross-examination of NJM’s expert specialist, it was shown that he did not review medical records from the facility where he had sent our client for physical therapy following his knee surgery.
The specialist testified that our client never complained of left hip pain when he was receiving treatment at Concentra. Attorney Benites’ cross-examined the doctor on the fact that while medical records indicated the physical therapist reported our client’s main complaint was left hip pain on a Thursday, medical records from the specialist for the very next day, Friday, made no mention of hip pain.
Ultimately, the presiding judge found our client and our medical expert to be more credible witnesses than NJM’s specialist, and our expert’s testimony regarding the causal relationship of the need for hip replacement surgery persuasive. The judge’s order for medical treatment and temporary disability was entered in early January. Our client underwent his needed hip replacement surgery in March and will receive $903.00 per week in tax-free temporary disability benefits for the duration of his post-operative therapy.
Roberto Benites is an Attorney at Levinson Axelrod, P.A. who has devoted his entire professional career to representing injured clients and families following work-related accidents. Attorney Benites has litigated complex claims in workers’ compensation courts throughout New Jersey, including those involving motions for medical and temporary disability benefits, and trials for permanent disability. If you have questions about a potential workers’ compensation case, contact us.