Home > AOE/COE, Tactics and Strategy > The Incredible Hulk? Not so much…

The Incredible Hulk? Not so much…

Do you think the Incredible Hulk had a compensable workers’ compensation claim?  I mean, after all, he was injured in a lab while working with gamma rays and developed noticeable impairment, primarily psychological, which resulted in him being precluded from most available jobs.  After all, the things that would turn Dr. Bruce Banner into the smashing angry beast are the types of things we encounter every day in the Workers’ Compensation world.

Nothing so interesting happened with the applicant in the case of Betty Popoff v. Labcorp.  If Ms. Popoff developed any super powers after her alleged injury, they are likely limited to recovery in the workers’ compensation system after years of treatment on a non-industrial basis.

Applicant was employed by Labcorp and claimed a cumulative trauma injury from July 2009 to July 2010, manifesting mostly as numbness in her hands (bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome).  The workers’ compensation Judge found the injury compensable, and the defense petitioned the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board for reconsideration.

In denying the defendant’s petition, the WCAB took the position that defendant was making two, mutually exclusive arguments.  The first was the statute of limitations – that the applicant should have known that her injury was industrially caused when she went to see a physician on a non-industrial basis in 2004 for numbness in her hands.  The second was that the injury was not industrially caused.

But in all fairness to the defense, what about the other side of the coin?  If it was industrially caused, then applicant had six years to discover its causation.  Furthermore, after six years of treatment for numbness in hands, no physician had ever explored the possibility that the numbness was industrially caused.  Yet, somehow, the applicant decides, after six years, that the injury must be industrially caused and files an application.

Nor did the applicant tell the employer about the numbness she experienced in her hands, information that could have helped prevent any permanent disability by adjusting her duties in 2004.  After all, the standard is “known or should have known.”

Just thinking about this approach makes your otherwise calm and articulate blogger WANT TO MAKE SMASH!

  1. Tom Harbinson
    May 21, 2012 at 9:00 am

    The further irony is that had the defendant not raised the bar of the statute of limitations the Board would have found that an industrial injury occurred that would have been barred had the defendant raised the bar of the statute of limitations.

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