A 52-year-old school teacher was involved in two separate accidents during the course of her employment. Initially, Petitioner fell at work and twisted her knee. She was treated conservatively, both with physical therapy and cortisone injections. Neither of these helped, and Petitioner continued to have ongoing pain and discomfort in the knee. Her physician was concerned that she may be suffering from a displaced lateral meniscus tear and recommended arthroscopy surgery to explore the situation further. During the arthroscopy, her surgeon did not find anything that required repair. She continued with physical therapy and eventually improved sufficiently to return to work full duty. She was back at work for approximately two months when she had her second accident. On that occasion, she was dismissing her students from their class and in the rush to leave the classroom one of her students knocked her to the ground. She sustained injuries to her lower back on this occasion. Her initial treatment consisted of extensive physical therapy and pain management, but due to ongoing complaints of pain and discomfort, Petitioner was referred for surgery. An L4/L5 laminectomy and transforaminal interbody fusion was carried out. Petitioner did well after surgery and was released to return to work full duty. Petitioner was paid all workers’ compensation benefits due to her for the period of time she was absent from work. Both cases settled for $101,918.00 which figure represented a 27.5% loss of use of the person as a whole with respect of the back injury and a 22.5% loss of use of the leg with respect of the knee injury. All related medical expenses were also paid by Respondent.
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