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Posted by: Brittany Sims on Jul 9, 2013

Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Stuart Fawcett James, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellants, McMinn County Government and Tennessee Risk Management Trust.

Attorneys 2:

Charles C. Guinn, Jr. and H. Chris Trew, Athens, Tennessee, for the appellee, Paul E. Arnett.

Judge(s): WADE

The employee, a truck driver for McMinn County, suffered injuries in a job-related accident. Later, he filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits claiming that he had been permanently and totally disabled as a result of his injuries. The employer acknowledged that the employee’s shoulder and leg injuries were compensable but argued that his spinal injuries were not work related. Because a physician who performed two spinal surgeries on the employee was not listed on the employer’s panel of medical providers, the employer denied responsibility for the associated medical costs. While ordering that all of the employee’s injuries were compensable and granting permanent total disability benefits, the trial court did not require the employer to pay the medical costs incident to the second surgery. In this appeal, the employer maintains that the trial court erred by holding that the employee was entitled to recover either benefits or the cost of medical treatment for his spinal injuries. In response, the employee argues that the trial court erred by failing to award payment of the medical costs incident to the second surgery. The appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of facts and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. The judgment is affirmed, but modified to require the employer to pay the medical costs incident to the second surgery. The cause is remanded for an assessment of the medical expenses related to the second surgery.