In April of 2003, the plaintiff, a 48-year-old boiler mechanic with a history of back injuries, injured his back while doing an Installation. Some of the plaintiff’s prior injuries occurred at work, but he did not file workers’ compensation claims. His health insurance paid for the medical care associated with these injuries. After the incident in April, the plaintiff only missed a few days of work. The plaintiff was under the impression that he would return to his previous level of health.
In August 2003, the plaintiff suffered another incident that occurred while wiring a piece of heating equipment. This is what led to a significant increase in his low back pain. He sought care from his PCP who then referred the injured worker to a neurosurgeon who performed surgery in early 2004.
Shortly after the surgery, the plaintiff returned to work, at full pay, for light duty. Unfortunately, this was short-lived, and his pain forced him to stop work late in the summer of 2004. He attempted to return to work on light duty. This time, however, the employer refused to take him back until he was cleared to do so. The case was settled before an Administrative Judge.
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