Decision #123/00 - Type: Workers Compensation
An Appeal Panel hearing was held on October 5, 2000, at the request of the claimant. The Panel discussed this appeal on October 5, 2000, and on December 4, 2000.
Whether or not the claimant's impairment rating of 4.1% is correct; and
Whether or not the monetary award of $381.60 has been calculated correctly.
That the claimant's impairment rating should be increased to 12%; and
That the monetary award should be recalculated in light of the new impairment rating.
On February 23, 1995, the claimant was leaving his employer's premises when he slipped on a patch of ice, resulting in a fractured right tibia and fibula. On February 24, 1995, the claimant underwent open reduction and internal fixation of the right ankle. The claim was accepted as Workers Compensation Board (WCB) responsibility and benefits were paid accordingly.
In a medical report dated June 27, 1996, the attending orthopaedic specialist noted that the claimant continued to work full time but did complain of discomfort in the ankle with the necessity to limp at times. Clinically, there was minimal swelling of the ankle and range of motion was from 0 to 35 degrees. There was slight tenderness in a diffuse fashion. Radiological studies revealed satisfactory alignment to the ankle fracture with no joint surface incongruity.
The specialist concluded that the claimant was capable of continuing full time work and there was a minimal chance of him developing post-traumatic arthritis with time. He will have permanent restriction to his ankle motion.
On August 28, 1996, the claimant was assessed by a WCB Impairment Awards Medical Advisor with respect to a permanent partial impairment award. Following the assessment, the claimant's impairment rating was assessed at 4.1% for loss in range of motion of his right ankle.
In a letter dated September 12, 1996, the claimant was advised that his impairment had been rated at 4.1% and that he was entitled to payment in one lump sum of $381.60. On October 16, 1996, the claimant appealed the decision to Review Office stating that he still experienced sharp pain in his ankle 3 to 4 times a day.
On November 1, 1996, Review Office rendered the following decisions:
- that the impairment rating was confirmed at 4.1% based on the WCB's permanent impairment rating schedule; and
- that the monetary award of $381.60 was correct and in accordance with legislation.
On June 28, 2000, the claimant appealed Review Office's decision and an oral hearing was arranged.
Following the oral hearing held on October 5, 2000, the Panel discussed the case and requested that the claimant be reassessed by a WCB impairment award medical advisor regarding his right ankle impairment. The claimant was then assessed at the WCB on November 2, 2000. A copy of the examination report was forwarded to the interested parties for comment. On December 4, 2000, the Panel met to render its final decisions on the issues under appeal.
The Appeal Panel met on October 5, 2000, to hold an oral hearing, at which time both the claimant and the employer made representations.
With respect to the first issue - whether or not the permanent partial impairment (PPI) rating of 4.1% was correct - we felt that the claimant should be re-assessed in this regard, in particular because of the claimant's evidence that he had surgery to the injured ankle after the first PPI examination. This re-assessment was conducted on November 2, 2000, by a Board Impairment Awards Medical Advisor.
After receiving the report from the attending physician, the panel met on December 4, 2000, to consider the new evidence.
The Medical Advisor determined that the claimant's PPI rating should be 12%. (Note that the maximum rating for an ankle is 15%.) We accept the findings of the medical advisor.
Therefore, the claimant's appeal on this issue is allowed.
With respect to the second issue - whether or not the monetary award of $381.60 was calculated correctly - we found that it was calculated correctly, in accordance with statutory provisions and Board policy.
Strictly speaking, the claimant's appeal on this issue is not allowed. However, we point out that with the revised PPI rating, this calculation will change somewhat.
T. Sargeant, Presiding Officer
A. Finkel, Commissioner
B. Malazdrewich, Commissioner
Recording Secretary, B. Miller
T. Sargeant - Presiding Officer
(on behalf of the panel)
Signed at Winnipeg this 12th day of December, 2000