September 27, 1996
FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND
62-year old supermarket truck driver suffered broken jaw when
tractor/trailer handle hit his face. He sought reimbursement
for blender, vitamins, Aleve, baby food, and Ensure, as well
as compensation for his injury. He was able to continue
working, including overtime, but testified his jaw hurts,
particularly in cold weather, and impacts him mentally.
Issues alleged by pro-se claimant are restated by the Court
as requesting medical and permanent partial disability
benefits. Where physician recommended soft food, dietician
suggested supplementation with vitamins, and claimant's
wife described need to blend food, WCC found blender and
vitamins reasonable and necessary primary medical expenses.
Insurer conceded it would pay for Aleve, baby food, and
Ensure. WCC denied permanent partial disability benefits
where the record contained no impairment rating and
claimant's testimony indicated he has performed his work
successfully. While claimant testified his jaw hurts in cold
weather, it does not interfere with his employment.
Benefits: Medical Benefits: Primary Medical
Services. Supermarket truck driver who broke jaw
during employment was entitled to reimbursement for blender,
vitamins, Aleve, baby food, and Ensure as reasonable and
necessary primary medical services where physician
recommended soft food, dietician recommended supplementing
with vitamins, and claimant's wife described process of
blending food and adding supplements.
Benefits: Permanent Partial Disability:
Generally. Although claimant testified his jaw hurt
in cold weather, there was no evidence of an impairment
rating or that mended broken jaw interfered with
claimant's ability to work. Thus, permanent partial
disability benefits were denied.
trial in this matter was held on August 26, 1996. Petitioner,
John Cattaneo, representing himself, participated by
telephone. Respondent, Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company
(Liberty) was represented by Mr. Larry W. Jones, who was
present at the Court. Exhibits 1 through 6 were admitted and
the deposition of Mr. Cattaneo is considered a part of the
record. Mr. Cattaneo and his wife, Mary Cattaneo, testified.
Presented: Claimant petitioned for: 1) "10, 000 or
reasonable settlement;" 2) for a determination that the
accident was "a preventable accident, not just a normal
accident;" and 3) for a determination that he is
entitled to "some satisfaction coming for some damage
that I have." (Petition for Hearing at 2.) The
Workers' Compensation Court does not have jurisdiction to
make a determination regarding whether the accident was
preventable. The Court recharacterizes the issues as follows:
1) whether the respondent is liable for those expenses
submitted by the claimant, and 2) whether claimant is
entitled to permanent partial disability benefits.
trial claimant submitted six pages of information, including
an itemization of expenses. Liberty responded with a letter
indicating its agreement to pay for some of the requested
expenses but not others.
considered the Pretrial Order, the testimony presented at
trial, the deposition, the exhibits, and the post-trial
filings of the parties, the Court makes the following:
Claimant is 62 years old and resides in Billings, Montana.
Claimant is a high school graduate.
Claimant has worked for Supervalu for approximately 17
½ years. (Cattaneo Dep. at 15.) Claimant's job at
the time of his injury was as a driver of an 18-wheeler,
delivering groceries to different grocery stores in various
cities. (Id. at 6.)
February 16, 1995, claimant was injured while in the course
and scope of his employment when he was "hooking the
trailer to the tractor, turning the handel [sic] to left
landing gear, when I released handel [sic] it sprang back
hitting me in the jaw breaking it on bothe [sic] sides &
knocking teeth loose." (Petition for Hearing at 1,
Cattaneo Dep. at 5-6.) Liberty accepted liability and paid
temporary total disability benefits and medical benefits.
Claimant suffered "a markedly displaced fracture through
the body of the right side of his mandible as well as a
nondisplaced fracture through the left side of the
mandible." (Ex. 1 at 1.)
February 16, 1995, Dr. Mackay Hull, M.D., an oral and
maxillofacial surgeon, performed surgery on claimant for
"multiple mandibular fractures ...