CHARLESTON – The state Supreme Court left intact an administrative court finding that a school bus driver’s cervical disc syndrome was not the result of an injury he received while opening and closing a bus door.
The unanimous court issued the memorandum opinion on June 12.
Raleigh County school bus driver, Ronald W. Wilcox, injured his neck and right shoulder while opening and closing a school bus door on Sept. 30, 2009. He was subsequently diagnosed with a neck and right shoulder sprain by his chiropractor, Dr. Sexton.
The Workers’ Compensation claims administrator found his claim compensable, just two weeks later, on Oct. 15, 2009. After an MRI of Wilcox’s cervical spine revealed degenerative changes, Dr. Sexton requested the addition of cervical intervertebral disc syndrome as a secondary condition of the injury, the opinion says.
This request was denied by the claims administrator, on March 31, 2010, and the administrator’s decision was affirmed by the Workers’ Compensation Board of Judges on Feb. 8, 2011, and the Board of Review on Aug. 22, 2011.
The Office of Judges relied on the opinion of Dr. Guberman, an independent evaluator, who determined that Wilcox’s cervical intervertebral abnormalities were unrelated to his compensable injury. Dr. Guberman had performed the most comprehensive and thorough evaluation of Wilcox, the judges found.
After the Board of Review adopted the findings of the Office of Judges, Wilcox appealed to the state’s high court.
“We agree with the conclusions of the Board of Review,” the opinion states. “The preponderance of the evidence in this case, considering the report of Dr. Guberman, weighs in favor of finding that Mr. Wilcox’s cervical intervertebral disc displacement does not relate to his compensable injury.
“For the foregoing reasons, we find that the decision of the Board of Review is not in clear violation of any constitutional or statutory provision, nor is it clearly the result of erroneous conclusions of law, nor is it based upon a material misstatement or mischaracterization of the evidentiary record. Therefore, the decision of the Board of Review is affirmed.”