ARKANSAS HIGHWAY AND TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT AND ARKANSAS INSURANCE DEPARTMENT, PUBLIC EMPLOYEE CLAIMS DIVISION APPELLANTS
JOSEPH WORK APPELLEE
FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NOS.
G007596, G306766, G407852, G602717]
Charles H. McLemore Jr., for appellants.
Walker, Shock & Harp, PLLC, by: Eddie H. Walker, Jr., for
WAYMOND M. BROWN, JUDGE
Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) and
Arkansas Insurance Department, Public Employee Claims
Division, appellants, appeal from an order of the Arkansas
Workers' Compensation Commission (Commission) finding
that appellee was entitled to a 30 percent (30%) anatomical
impairment rating to the body as a whole as well as a 65
percent (65%) wage-loss award. Appellants contend that the
evidence is insufficient to support the Commission's
award. We find no error and affirm.
worked for appellant AHTD for nearly eleven years driving a
dump truck or low boy. During that time, appellee suffered
four separate compensable injuries: August 2010, injury to
lumbar spine; August 2013, injury to lumbar spine; June 2014,
injury to lumbar spine; February 2016, injury to lumbar spine
and cervical spine.
Appellee underwent several surgeries as a result of the
injuries, a majority of which were performed by Dr. Arthur
Johnson. However, Dr. Kyle Mangels performed appellee's
last surgical procedure in August 2016. Dr. Johnson assigned
appellee a 16 percent (16%) impairment rating to the body as
a whole in January 2014. The rating was accepted and paid by
appellants. Appellee received a 3 percent (3%) impairment
rating for his 2016 injury, which was also accepted and paid.
Appellee filed a claim contending that he was entitled to an
impairment rating for his June 2014 injury as well as
permanent partial-disability benefits for wage loss and a
controverted attorney's fee.
requested an impairment-rating report from Dr. Mangels. In a
report dated August 4, 2017, Dr. Mangels opined that appellee
had a total impairment rating of 30 percent (30%). Appellants
also had Dr. Bruce W. Randolph to prepare an
impairment-rating report. In the report dated August 14,
2017, Dr. Randolph opined that appellee had a total
impairment rating of 28 percent (28%). At the time of the
hearing, appellants maintained that appellee only had a 28
percent (28%) impairment rating to his body as a whole and
agreed to pay benefits based on that amount. However,
appellee maintained that he was entitled to the 30 percent
(30%) rating assigned by Dr. Mangels. The Administrative Law
Judge (ALJ) agreed that appellee was entitled to the 30
percent (30%) rating, finding in pertinent part:
I agree based upon my finding that Dr. Mangels' opinion
is credible and entitled to great weight. Dr. Mangels was the
claimant's authorized treating physician and performed
the last surgical procedure on claimant's lumbar spine.
Dr. Randolph was not the claimant's authorized treating
physician and Dr. Randolph has not examined the claimant but
instead has only reviewed medical records. Based on this
evidence, I find that Dr. Mangels' opinion is entitled to
Accordingly, based on Dr. Mangels' opinion, which I find
to be credible and in accordance with the AMA Guides, I find
that claimant's total anatomical impairment equals 30% to
the body as a whole.
ALJ's opinion in regard to appellee's entitlement to
wage loss, stated in pertinent part:
The next issue for consideration involves the extent of
claimant's wage loss. Notably, claimant does not contend
that he is permanently totally disabled. Pursuant to A.C.A.
§11-9-522(b)(1) when considering claims for permanent
partial disability benefits in excess of the percentage of
permanent physical impairment, the Commission may take into
account various factors including the percentage of
impairment as well as the employee's age, education, work
experience, and all other matters reasonably expected to
affect his future earning capacity.
Here, as previously discussed, the claimant has a 30%
impairment as a result of his compensable injuries. On May
15, 2017, Dr. Mangels assigned claimant a 20-pound lifting
restriction. Dr. Mangels also completed a form specific to
the respondent indicating that claimant could constantly
perform data entry/typing and simple grasping work. Dr.
Mangels indicated that claimant could frequently stand/walk,
sit, and push and pull. Dr. Mangels indicated that claimant
could occasionally twist, bend, squat, kneel, climb, reach,
flag traffic, weedeat, operate foot controls, and drive a
car/truck. Claimant presented these restrictions to the
respondent and was informed that no work was available within
The claimant is a 52-year-old man and he has a 12th grade
education. Claimant worked for the respondent driving a truck
for eleven years. Prior to his employment with the respondent
claimant worked driving a truck for Fed Ex. Claimant
testified that in the performance of that job he was required
to load and unload trailers and also work on the dock.
Claimant performed this job for 18 ½ years. Prior to
his employment with Fed Ex the claimant worked for
When claimant was not returned to work by the respondent, it
offered claimant vocational rehabilitation with Heather
Taylor. Taylor is a vocational rehabilitation counselor and
she testified at the hearing. Taylor testified that she met
with the claimant in June in order to complete a vocational
evaluation. In the course of that evaluation Taylor gave the
claimant a Wide Range Achievement Test which measures
academic achievement in four different areas. Claimant's
test results included Word Reading at the grade equivalent of
4.8; Sentence ...