Madison - St. Clair Record

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Fifth District rejects workers' compensation appeal

By David Hutton | Nov 10, 2017

The Fifth District Appellate Court has ruled that a man failed to prove his disability claim with the state’s Workers Compensation Commission.

In the Oct. 30 order, court noted that the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission ruling that found that Rick Bailie failed to prove he was disabled by a work accident was supported by the evidence.

Justice Thomas Hoffman delivered the judgment of the court. The panel also included Presiding Justice William E. Holdridge and justices Donald C. Hudson, Thomas Harris and James R. Moore.

“The commission’s denial of temporary total disability benefits and medical expenses relating to his current condition of ill-being is not against the manifest weight of the evidence,” Hoffman wrote.

The appellate court reversed a portion of a Madison County Circuit Court order that confirmed the commission’s award of a $2,678.88 credit in favor of GRP Mechanical Co.

Bailie alleged that he was injured on Jan. 8, 2014, while working for GRP.

The circuit court had denied his claim and granted GRP the credit for other benefits.

During a May 2014 arbitration hearing, the court stated that Bailie disclosed that he had received medical treatment before he was injured.

According to decision, Bailie suffered a knee injury in 2012 and an MRI taken on March 22, 2012, revealed that he had a torn medial and lateral menisci.  He was treated by Dr. Bruce Vest.

Bailie worked for GPR for two months before being laid off on Nov. 27, 2013. He noticed a sore on his thigh, which he sought treatment for. He also bumped his knee on a trailer hitch of his truck on or before Jan. 7, 2014, the decision states.

On Jan. 7, 2014, Bailie was called back to work by GRP, which assigned him to work on an oil field project in Oklahoma. The next day, while working in a trench, the court states that Bailie claimed he was injured when a piece of sandstone fell into the trench, scraping his shin in the process.

On Jan. 21, 2014, Bailie called a supervisor, complaining of pain, stiffness and swelling and he was sent to One Source Occupational Medicine, where he complained about right knee pain. He mentioned the incident with his truck, but not the incident in the trench.

An examination detected swelling, but no other issues or redness and he was diagnosed with degenerative changes in his right knee. He received a prescription for potassium and it was suggested he follow up with his own doctor, the decision states.

The court states that Vest examined Bailie a few days later and diagnosed right knee pain, right knee effusion, and a history of medial and lateral menisci tears and he was treated for methicillin-resistant staph aureus.

Vest performed two surgeries on Bailie on Jan. 27, 2014, and Feb. 4, 2014. Vest testified that the scrape on Bailie’s shin may have resulted in a staph infection.

Ultimately, Bailie maintained that the commission’s denial of benefits and medical expenses was not consistent with the evidence in his case.

“However, his arguments in this regard are based upon his contention that his condition of ill-being was causally connected to his work accident,” Hoffman wrote. “Having rejected the claimant’s arguments as to causal connection, it follows that, for the same reasons, we reject his arguments addressed to the denial of TTD (temporary total disability) benefits and medical expenses."

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Illinois Fifth District Appellate Court