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Velasco v. Labor Commission

Velasco v. Labor Commission, 2021 UT 1 (Christiansen Forster, J.)

Workers’ Compensation

Israel Velasco seriously injured while working. His finger was eventually amputated after he was cleared to begin working again. Velasco held various jobs before his finger required amputation, but he requested temporary permanent disability from the date of injury until he was cleared for full-time work after amputation. An ALJ granted his request, but the Labor Commission Appeals Board modified that request to omit the period of time after he was cleared for work. Velasco appealed. The Utah Court of Appeals remanded for further proceedings, holding:

  • The Board erred when it found that Velasco could not obtain temporary disability benefits for the period between when his doctor cleared him to work and when he was cleared to work after amputation. The Board’s findings demonstrate that Velasco became temporarily disabled at some point after his doctor released him for full-duty work.
  • Neither the ALJ nor the Board found the precise date when Velasco’s pain began to interfere with his ability to work. The case is remanded for findings of fact related to when Mr. Velasco became temporarily disabled.
  • Practice Tip: The Utah Court of Appeals noted that the Board cannot require contemporaneous medical evidence to the exclusion of all other evidence, including an injured person’s own subjective reports of their pain and impairment.

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