In 1999, after working for Atchison Leather Prod-ucts, Inc., in Kansas for ten years, Beverly Tull be-gan to complain of hand, wrist, and shoulder pain. Atchison recommended that she contact a certain physician, who in April 2000 diagnosed the condition as carpal tunnel syndrome “ severe enough” for surgery. In August, Tull filed a claim with the state workers’ compensation board. Be-cause Atchison changed workers’ compensation insurance com-panies every year, a dispute arose as to which company should pay Tull’s claim. Fearing liability, no insurer would authorize treatment, and Tull was forced to delay surgery until December. The board granted her temporary total disability benefits for the subsequent six weeks that she missed work. On April 23, 2002, Berger Co. bought Atchison. The new employer adjusted Tull’s work so that it was less demanding and stressful, but she continued to suffer pain. In July, a physician diagnosed her con-dition as permanent. The board granted her permanent partial disability benefits. By May 2005, the bickering over the finan-cial responsibility for Tull’s claim involved five insurers— four of which had each covered Atchison for a single year and one of which covered Berger. [ Tull v. Atchison Leather Products, Inc., 37 Kan. App. 2d 87, 150 P. 3d 316 ( 2007)] (See page 664.)
(a) When an injured employee files a claim for work-ers’ compensation, a proceeding is held to assess the injury and determine the amount of compensation. Should a dispute between insurers over the payment of the claim be resolved in the same proceeding? Why or why not?
(b) The board designated April 23, 2002, as the date of Tull’s injury. What is the reason for determining the date of a worker’s injury? Should the board in this case have selected this date or a different date? Why?
(c) How should the board assess liability for the payment of Tull’s medical expenses and disability benefits? Would it be appropriate to impose joint and several liability on the insurers (holding each of them responsible for the full amount of damages), or should the individual liability of each of them be deter-mined? Explain.

  • CreatedJune 18, 2014
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