Robert Stevens worked as a Mass Highway Department as an electrician in Lenox, Massachusetts. After an appeal hearing he was awarded accidental disability retirement benefits, due to a personal injury he sustained on January 9, 2006, when he bent over and twisted to retrieve a pen he had dropped.
In some cases, accidental disability retirements are denied when the injury suffered is a result of a common movement of everyday life. However, the DALA Administrative Magistrate ruled that when a disabling injury is caused by one event, the applicant need not prove that the event was one not common to a great many jobs.
In this case, Stevens demonstrated that his disability is likely to be permanent and he has been unable to perform the essential duties as a Mass Highway Department electrician since 2006.
He was diagnosed with disabling L5 radiculopathy which the medical panel ruled might be the natural and proximate result of the injury sustained on January 9, 2006.
Prior to January 9, 2006, Mr. Stevens was able to perform the essential duties of his job. Within weeks after that date, he was unable to perform the essential functions. His back and left leg became immediately painful after the pen event. He promptly filed a notice of injury and sought medical attention the next day. Despite physical therapy and medication, both Mr. Stevens’ primary care physician and his treating neurologist determined that he was not able to perform the essential functions of his position and both physicians concluded that the injury of January 9, 2006 was, in fact, the natural and proximate cause of his disabling L5 radiculopathy.
Mr. Stevens is, therefore, entitled to a 72% accidental disability retirement.