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Court denies prisoner nurse's claim for workers comp after prisoner attack

Valerie Hammond was attacked by a prisoner while performing an examination.  Although she reportedly did not suffer "serious" physical injuries, she did suffer from PTSD and "panic attacks" which prevented her from returning to work.  She was sent for an "independent medical examination by the employer's designated doctors, who concluded that she was in fact able to work.  Her own physicians disagreed and testified that she was "unable to manage the social aspects of a typical nursing job."  The magistrate found that Hammond was totally disabled by PTSD, however the politically-appointed MCAC overturned this decision.  They sent the case back to a different magistrate, who concluded that Hammond's treaters "were overstating her current disability." 

Hammond was granted medical benefits for treatment and nothing more.  She appealed the final MCAC denial of benefits, pointing out that even the IME doctors had concluded that she was truthful, and therefore it was inconsistent to deny her disability benefits.  The Court of Appeals upheld the denial of wage loss to the woman because she had not introduced any evidence documenting that she could not achieve alternative post-injury employment.  It also pointed out that while her description of her symptoms may well have been truthful, that did not establish that the symptoms were caused PTSD associated with the employment attack.

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