Denial of Workers’ Compensation Could Not Be Based on Error-Filled Doctor’s Report

An employee sought workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained while lifting a boxed toilet at work. The claim was denied by the Alabama circuit court on the grounds that the employee’s injury as reported did not arise out of the course of employment, citing medical records containing conflicting evidence as to cause of the injury. However, the inconsistencies arose from the reports of one doctor, which stated that the injury resulted from lifting a box of tools rather than from lifting a boxed toilet. The doctor’s reports also contained several factual errors, for example, the branch of the employer’s store where the injury occurred, grammatical errors, such as referring to the employee as “her” rather than “him,” and spelling errors.


The appellate court found that the doctor’s reports were so rife with errors that fair-minded persons in the exercise of impartial judgment could not reasonably infer that the reports provide substantial evidence that the employee injured himself in a manner that would preclude compensation, and therefore reversed the circuit court’s denial of the claim. See: Johnson v. Lowe's Home Centers, Inc., 2011 WL 6273670 (Ala.Civ.App. Dec 16, 2011) (not designated for publication).