ON APPEAL FROM THE OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION, DISTRICT 7, PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA. NO. 13-7403. HONORABLE SYLVIA T. DUNN, JUDGE PRESIDING.
MICHAEL R. DELESDERNIER, ATTORNEY AT LAW, Metairie, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE.
KIM P. THOMAS, PATRICK F. COLE, ATTORNEYS AT LAW, Shreveport, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT.
Panel composed of Judges Marc E. Johnson, Robert A. Chaisson, and Robert M. Murphy.
ROBERT M. MURPHY, J.
[14-949 La.App. 5 Cir. 2] In this workers' compensation case, defendant, Avis Budget Group, Inc., appeals the judgment of the Office of Workers' Compensation (" OWC" ) awarding claimant, Sharon Mangiaracina, medical, medication and travel expenses, as well as weekly temporary total disability benefits. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
It is not disputed that the claimant, Sharon Mangiaracina, had a work-related accident on January 8, 2013, while in the employment of defendant, Avis Budget Group, Inc. (" Avis" ), as a rental and sales agent. It is also not contested that claimant had a pre-existing injury to her left shoulder for which she had received medical treatment prior to the accident of January 8th. Claimant testified, however, that none of her pre-existing shoulder issues ever affected her ability to work at Avis, and prior to her injury she never had any limitations placed on her because of her shoulder.
[14-949 La.App. 5 Cir. 3] At the direction of her supervisor, claimant went to " Concentra" on January 9, 2013, for treatment. After treating claimant on that date, Dr. Timothy Lavin noted in his report the claimant had related increased pain in her shoulder following the accident. On January 18th, Dr. Douglas Lurie, from Concentra, recommended physical therapy, which claimant set up through Dr. Charles Murphy's office.
Claimant had discussions with Carmel Kerley, an adjuster for Avis' insurer, CNA, and Kerley told claimant that her injuries were considered to be a pre-existing condition. Claimant disagreed with Kerley's assessment of her injury. Two days after her conversation with Kerley, claimant saw Dr. Murphy, who had previously treated her shoulder for dislocation. In the January 24th visit, Dr. Murphy found that Mangiaracina's shoulder condition was worse than before the accident, including " significant guarding with range of motion." He noted in a report following evaluation that claimant complained of " significant worsening" of the pain in her left shoulder following the accident. Dr. Murphy recommended a surgical consultation for claimant's shoulder, and wrote a prescription for physical therapy. Dr. Murphy restricted claimant to lift no more than five pounds, and to place no stress on the left shoulder or right thumb. Claimant thereafter solicited a surgical opinion from Dr. William Junius, who suggested a surgery which ultimately took place on June 13, 2013. Three months prior to trial, claimant was told she could return to work; however she had been terminated from her employment with Avis on June 17, 2013. Claimant was employed at the time of trial, but stated that she had received
unemployment benefits for a period of time.
Dr. Junius' medical invoices totaled $9,144.20. The bill to Southshore Physical Therapy was for $6,549.00. Avis did not pay these bills; they were covered under claimant's benefits provided through Aetna. Avis did not pay a [14-949 La.App. 5 Cir. 4] medical bill to East Jefferson Hospital totaling $43,381.35 or a ...