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Gary Atkin

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An employee suffered injuries in a work-related act.  Her obvious dental injuries were treated over a six month period but her dentist released her to return to full work duties a few days after the accident.  When she returned to work, she had continuing pain and difficulty in lifting.  She did not have a light duty release and her employer neither offered light duty work nor suggested that she should obtain further medical evaluation.  She subsequently quit the job because she felt she was unable to perform the physical functions of her job.  For several years afterwards, she tried working at various other jobs but was limited by her continuing medical problems.  Finally, she applied for workers' compensation benefits and she was examined by the employer's physician who determined she had suffered a cervical spinal injury in that accident and that she still was not yet at maximum medical improvement, although she could have returned to sedentary-to-light duty work within a few days of the accident.  The employer then began payment of temporary disability benefits but refused payment for the years between the date she terminated her employment and the date the injuries were finally identified.  The Commission ruled that, since she was totally disabled, not medically stable, and unable to perform her regular duties at the time she terminated her employment, and her employer did not offer her light duty, she was entitled to disability benefits for the period commencing with the termination of her employment.  Labor Comm'n Case no 00-0511.  The Utah Court of Appeals did not address the issue, and dismissed the appeal on technical grounds, because the employer had filed its appeal before the Commission had ruled on its Motion for Reconsideration and it failed to file a new appeal within the required time after the its Motion for Reconsideration was denied.  McCoy v. Utah Disaster Kleenup, 65 P. 3d 643 (Utah App., 2003)
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