Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kankakee County. No. 88-MR-274 and No. 90-MR-336. The Honorable Fred S. Carr, Jr., Judge Presiding.
Present - Honorable John T. Mccullough, Presiding Justice, Honorable Thomas R. Rakowski, Justice, Honorable Alfred E. Woodward, Justice, Honorable Kent Slater, Justice, Honorable Philip J. Rarick, Justice
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rakowski
JUSTICE RAKOWSKI delivered the opinion of the court:
The employee, Robert Schoon (claimant), filed an application for adjustment of claim pursuant to the Workers' Compensation Act (Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 48, par. 138.1 et seq.) for back injuries he allegedly sustained while working for Rudolf Express Company, Inc. (employer). The Arbitrator found the claimant permanently totally disabled (PTD) under 8(f) of the Act. The Commission affirmed. The circuit court reversed and remanded with instructions. The Commission then found the claimant temporarily totally incapacitated under Section 8(b) of the Act. The court ordered the employer to make payments for 125 weeks as provided under Section 8(d)2 because the injuries sustained caused permanent disability to the extent of 25% of the man as a whole. The Commission also awarded medical benefits. The circuit court affirmed.
The claimant drove a truck for the employer for 28 years. He delivered and picked up freight. In the average day, the claimant physically handled 30,000 pounds. On August 19, 1982, the claimant attempted to lift a trailer that had a pallet with freight on it. The trailer slipped and the claimant fell backwards. The claimant got up and "seemed to be all right." He noticed that his right hip was stiff getting out of the truck when he returned home. He reported the incident to the dock foreman. The claimant worked the next week and then took his regularly scheduled vacation week. The claimant never went back to work.
Dr. Kline, a chiropractor, treated the claimant. The claimant's hip did not improve. Dr. Swartz then treated the claimant. The claimant went to Dr. Stoval in September 1982. He saw Dr. Stoval five or six times in 1982 and 1983. At Dr. Stoval's recommendation, the claimant began physical therapy and began wearing a corset that the claimant still wore at the time of the arbitration hearing. The claimant completed about three months of therapy between 1982 and 1984. As of November 1984, the claimant's hip no longer hurt, but he had pain in his right leg and his lower back. He has not received treatment for his back since November 1984. The claimant also received treatment from Dr. Smit, who prescribed pain pills. At the time of the arbitration hearing, the claimant was still under the care of Dr. Smit.
At the insurance company's request, the claimant saw Dr. Thompson five times and Dr. Kane once. Dr. Thompson ordered therapy. The claimant continued with Dr. Stoval's therapy also.
In the summer of 1986, Dr. Sergeant opined that claimant had suffered a stroke. He never received treatment for the stroke.
The claimant did not look for work of any nature. Judy Sher, a rehabilitation manager, set up interviews for the claimant but he did not go because the interviews were out of town.
The claimant has no prior back injuries. He has an eighth grade education. He was in the military for four years and then began working for the employer when he was 24 years old. The claimant was 52 years old at the time of the accident. Prior work involved construction, cement finishing, and carpentry.
The claimant currently suffers from impotency. He continues to suffer back pain and "problems" because of the stroke. The claimant did not specify those "problems".
The claimant raises three issues on appeal: (1) whether the Commission's decision finding the claimant permanently and totally disabled was against the manifest weight of the evidence; (2) whether rehabilitation is a condition precedent to employment; and (3) whether the decision of the Commission on remand was against the manifest weight of the evidence.
The claimant first contends that the circuit court erred when it reversed the Commission's decision finding the claimant permanently and totally disabled.