Worker’s Compensation – Back Injury

In McEwen v. Bremen Bowden Investment Company, Case No. A11A0555 recently decided on April 8, 2011 in the Court of Appeals of Georgia, the State Board of Workers' Compensation (full board) revered the decision of the law judge or Administrative Law Judge. In this case, the woman worked for a military uniform manufacturer and injured her back. She reported a back problem to her Employer through the supervisor. She missed a day or two in 2008 and then on January 23, 2009 she was terminated for excess absenteeism as she missed more time from work because of her back. Of course, the supervisor comes in and says there was never anything said about an on‑the‑job back injury even though the client came crying about it and the supervisor told her to go to a doctor.

Despite the evidence, the Full Board finds a different preponderance of evidence as they seemed to be allowed to do and reversed. However, the Full Board indicated that they were persuaded by the Employee's own testimony that at no time while she was working with the Employer did she allege a job injury. Unfortunately, this particular case does not discuss a whole lawn of over cases from the Georgia Court of Appeals that actually says that an employee is not required to report an on‑the‑job injury. The Employee is simply required to give enough information about an injury so that the Employer can ask an investigator. This seems to be missed. In any event, in this case the Georgia Court of Appeals reverses challenging the statement by the Full Board about the Employee's own testimony which they contend was an admission even though the Employee is adamant that she told the supervisor that she hurt herself on the job. The case talks about uncertainty from the face of an Award on the consideration of the evidence and states in particular that what it is uncertain from the face of the Award whether the Board has considered certain evidence, the proper remedy is to remand to the Board for further consideration.

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