David Rhoades and Walter Dennis (both from Raleigh) recently prevailed in a case before a deputy commissioner and as a result, defendants were permitted to terminate plaintiff’s indemnity and medical benefits. The Deputy Commissioner found that neither plaintiff’s current disability nor his current medical treatment was related to a compensable motor vehicle accident, and allowed defendants to terminate indemnity and medical benefits as of the date of the Opinion & Award.
Plaintiff was a truck driver and was involved in a compensable motor vehicle accident on November 19, 2012 in which his 18 wheeler collided with a tractor cutting grass on the side of the highway and killed the tractor operator. Plaintiff sustained a broken left wrist, which healed without issue, and also developed PTSD and other mental conditions. Plaintiff received indemnity benefits and medical treatment since the accident. Defendants requested a hearing to terminate benefits contending that plaintiff’s current mental condition was not related to the MVA and that plaintiff was no longer disabled. Defendants obtained an IME from a neuropsychiatrist who opined that plaintiff did have PTSD after the MVA but his current psychological conditions were mainly due to personal issues that preexisted the MVA and that plaintiff was able to work as a result of any conditions from the MVA. Plaintiff had been treated by a clinical social worker and psychiatrist since the MVA who conversely testified that plaintiff had PTSD and remained disabled. Defendants also retained a vocational expert who testified that there were suitable jobs available within 50 miles of plaintiff’s residence based on his education and work history. At the hearing, plaintiff testified that he could not work due to his condition and that he has not looked for work. Plaintiff also testified that he had lost his driver’s license as a result of the MVA, but that he could reapply for his license and had not done so. The deputy found plaintiff’s testimony to not be credible, that plaintiff’s physicians’ opinions were primarily based on plaintiff’s complaints which were not found to be credible, and found that defendants’ medical expert was more credible given that he conducted objective testing and determined plaintiff to be exaggerating his symptoms. Defendants were permitted to terminate plaintiff’s ongoing indemnity and medical benefits.
The outcome of a particular case cannot be predicated upon a lawyer's or law firm's past results.