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Cathy Baldwin v. the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission et al.

April 28, 2011

CATHY BALDWIN,
APPELLANT,
v.
THE ILLINOIS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION ET AL.
SECURITAS SECURITY SERVICES,
APPELLEE



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF VERMILION COUNTY No. 09 MR 143 HONORABLE JOSEPH SKOWRONSKI JR. JUDGE PRESIDING.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Hoffman

Workers' Compensation

NOTICE Decision filed 04/28/11. The text of this decision may be changed or Commission Division corrected prior to the filing of a Petition for Rehearing or the disposition of the same.

JUSTICE HOFFMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Presiding Justice McCullough and Justices Holdridge, Hudson and Stewart concurred in the judgment and the opinion.

OPINION

The claimant, Cathy Baldwin, appeals from an order of the circuit court of Vermilion County which confirmed two decisions of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission (Commission) denying her benefits under the Workers' Compensation Act (Act) (820 ILCS 305/1 et seq.(West 2004)) for injuries she sustained on October 8, 2006, and November 19, 2006, while in the employ of Securitas Security Services (Securitas). For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of he circuit court.

The following is a summary of the relevant evidence adduced at the arbitration hearing.

The claimant was employed by Securitas as a security guard. On October 8, 2006, she was assigned to inside guard duty, which consisted of walking throughout a building and walking around the outside perimeter. According to her testimony, she was descending a metal staircase when she slipped and fell, landing on her left side. She testified that she did not know what caused her foot to slip. She saw no defect on the step or any liquid substance thereon. At the time that she slipped, the claimant was wearing shoes with rubber soles, she was not in a hurry, and her hands were free. The claimant stated that, just prior to her fall, she had walked through a freezer and moisture "might" have been on her shoes. However, she admitted that she did not know what actually caused her foot to slip. The claimant testified that, prior to October 8, 2006, she had never experienced any problems with her legs, she did not suffer from any medical condition that affected her balance or made her dizzy, she had no problems walking or going up or down stairs, and she had never used a cane.

Following her fall on October 8, 2006, she sought medical treatment at Provena Medical Center (Provena). The records of that visit indicate that the claimant was diagnosed with a left buttock/left posterior hip contusion with secondary spasms and pain in the left buttock, left thigh and left hamstring muscle. The claimant was given a TENS unit, prescribed medication, placed on an off-work status, and advised to return on October 12, 2006, for follow-up treatment.

When the claimant returned to Provena on October 12, 2006, she continued to complain of pain. Her diagnosis remained unchanged. She was given a cane to assist her with walking and advised to return on October 19, 2006, or sooner if necessary.

Provena's records reflect that when the claimant returned on October 17, 2006, she reported increased pain when she walked long distances and when she sat for prolonged periods of time. She also reported that the TENS unit was helping and that, generally, her pain was improving. The attending physician continued the claimant's use of a cane and a TENS unit, continued to prescribe medication, and recommended a referral to a physical therapist for evaluation and treatment.

When the claimant returned to Provena on November 3, 2006, she reported difficulty with stair climbing. The attending physician's notes of that visit state that on examination the claimant walked normally and that her stair-climbing exercises were "okay," but some pain and difficulty were noted with repetition. The claimant's medications were extended, and she was to continue the use of the TENS unit, complete the physical therapy regimen, and use the cane on an as-needed basis.

On November 16, 2006, the claimant returned to Provena and reported that the physical therapy sessions had helped, that she was 90% improved, and that she was pain free. The notes of that visit state that the claimant had worked outside on the previous night in the cold and rain and that she had tolerated the work well. The attending physician's report states that, on examination, the claimant demonstrated normal function. She was ...


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