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Hines v. Central Arkansas Transit Authority and Risk Management

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division III

November 20, 2019

SHIRLEY HINES APPELLANT
v.
CENTRAL ARKANSAS TRANSIT AUTHORITY AND RISK MANAGEMENT APPELLEES

          APPEAL FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NO. G604793].

          The Law Office of Steven McNeely dba Attorney at Law, by: Steven R. McNeely, for appellant.

          Barber Law Firm PLLC, by: Karen H. McKinney, for appellees.

          MIKE MURPHY, Judge.

         Appellant Shirley Hines appeals from a decision of the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission (Commission) denying her temporary total-disability benefits. We affirm.

         Hines has worked for Central Arkansas Transit Authority since 2001. On June 20, 2016, Hines was driving a bus for her employer when another vehicle ran a red light and caused a collision with Hines's bus. The bus's steering wheel did not have an airbag, and the parties agree that Hines sustained injuries to her left wrist, ribs, left leg, neck, and back.

         On June 21, Hines was seen at CHI St. Vincent. The notes from that visit provide that

Ms. Hines comes today because on yesterday she was driving down the street and a car ran a red light and she hit the car in the side (T-bone), she was going approx. 35 mph, the other car was speeding. She was the restrained driver of a city bus (they don't have airbags). The other car's airbags did deploy. They took her via EMS to the emergency room. She says her job came and got her from the ER and made her leave to take a drug test, so she was actually never seen.
She says today, she is mostly hurting along the left side of her body. She is having some neck pain, B/L shoulder pain, left knee pain, left foot pain, and left wrist pain. She did hit the steering wheel with the left knee. For the neck pain, she says it is aching and radiating down the left arm. She says she is having some tingling in the left fingers (whole hand). No numbness or weakness of the [left upper extremity]. She is able to grip as normal.

         She was prescribed prednisone and Flexeril. Hines was then seen at Concentra Health Centers. Over the next week, Hines went to Concentra four times. At the first visit, she was restricted to light-duty work (no bus driving) and prescribed physical therapy. The notes from her subsequent visits were substantially the same as those from the first.

         On July 5, Hines again went to Concentra. She saw Dr. Carle. Dr. Carle reported that Hines had some soft-tissue tenderness and neck pain but that she "moves her neck freely during conversation and with distracted observation," had a normal gait with no limping, and had normal reflexes and no spasms on her spine. An additional note provided, "Psychiatric: Mood and Affect angry, dysphoric, flat and irritable." The treatment status was "released from care," and Dr. Carle reported that Hines could return to full work and activity. He further provided that "[t]here are restrictions not related to this injury. This patient has been evaluated for complaints of discomfort due to the case date above. There are not objective findings of an impairment apportioned to the workplace occurrence. . . . Needs Psych eval before [Department of Transportation] recertification." An additional report provided that Hines could return to work on July 5, 2016, with no restrictions.

         On July 8, Hines went back to CHI St. Vincent and saw Dr. William Joseph. The notes from that visit provide that her range of motion was normal, and she could touch her toes and walk normally. She still had some tenderness in her spine, but she could resume regular work activities effective July 11. Those notes further provided that she could continue to take the Flexeril but that she should avoid it when she was driving.

         On August 10, Hines was seen again at Concentra for a Department of Transportation medical certification and report. The "driver health history" portion provided that Hines said that she had headaches, dizziness, neck pain, and back pain from her motor vehicle accident. The results of that report disqualified Hines from driving due to dizziness.

         At the workers'-compensation hearing, Hines contended that she was entitled to temporary total-disability for the eight weeks she could not work because of the wreck and for additional medical treatment. The employer controverted the claim, and the administrative law judge found that Hines was entitled to temporary total-disability compensation from August 10 through October 12, 2016. The employer appealed to the Commission, and the Commission reversed. Hines now appeals to this court, arguing that the ...


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