Ever face an appeal in a workers’ comp case? Then you know it can take a long time. But here’s a case that’s been in the courts for 27 years, and it isn’t over yet. And the injury was to the worker’s little toe.
Kirk Jacobs injured his toe in a work-related accident in 1982. He received workers’ comp benefits for a number of related conditions for many years, including for treatment of chronic abdominal pain.
What, you say? How is a toe injury related to abdominal pain?
Five months after his toe injury, Jacobs had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic used to treat an infection which had developed in his right foot. The reaction manifested itself as colitis and nerve damage which left Jacobs with severe chronic pain, according to his account.
But wait, there’s more.
In 2001, 19 years later, Jacobs sought benefits for lung problems in connection to the little toe injury. He argued that his abdominal pain required his continued use of narcotic pain medication. Because of his need for large amounts of pain medicine, he developed breathing and pulmonary problems requiring treatment.
His former employer and its insurance company thought all these claims had been settled and dismissed.
Jacobs appealed his case one more time to his state’s supreme court. In reviewing the long case history, the court recently determined that, while the claim for benefits for the lung problem had been properly dismissed, it could find no record that a final decision was ever entered regarding the chronic abdominal pain. The court has sent the case back for final review.
Twenty-seven years later, the case goes on.
What do you think about this case? What’s the longest you’ve ever had a workers’ comp case drag out? Let us know in the Comments Box below.
Cite: Jacobs v. Wyoming Workers’ Safety and Compensation Div., WY Supreme Court, No. S-08-0255, 9/25/09 (PDF).