HR Strange But True!
October 11, 2007

An appeals court in Indiana has upheld the workers' compensation award of a dancer who says she suffered a work-related injury while performing a "pole trick."

Angela Hobson says she was on stage at Shangri-La in Fort Wayne in late December 2001 "performing a pole trick when she sprung around the pole and felt a pull in her neck." She told the manger about the injury when she left the stage, she says. She visited a local hospital several times for treatment and eventually underwent surgery.

She filed a claim with the Indiana Worker's Compensation Board in 2003. In June 2006, the board ruled that she is entitled to:

  • Payment or reimbursement of all medical benefits incurred in connection with diagnosis and treatment of the work-related injury, including all charges associated with the surgery and related follow-up visits.
  • An award of compensation for temporary total disability in the amount of $548.00 per week commencing January 14, 2002 through January 31, 2002, and
  • A lump sum of $10,400

In granting the award, the board also noted that the club lacked a policy of worker's compensation insurance, was never approved by the board as a self-insurer at the time of the alleged injury, lacked adequate procedures for recording work injuries, failed to maintain adequate business records, failed to post a notice of coverage in accordance with state law.

Shangri-La appealed the decision to the Indiana Court of Appeals, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to support the board's award to Hobson. However, the court upheld the board's decision, saying the club should make immediate payment to Hobson for the full amount of the award. The court also sent the case back to the board to decide whether Hobson is entitled to double compensation and attorney fees because the employer failed to have workers' compensation insurance at the time of the injury.

Source: Wholesalers, Inc. d/b/a Shangri-La v. Angela Hobson

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