The Arkansas Court of Appeals on Wednesday ruled against the Sheridan School District which had claimed the Arkansas Worker’s Compensation Commission was wrong when they ruled a district employee was injured in a work-related accident.
Jennifer Wise was a paraprofessional in the district and in February 2019 was helping a co-worker set up tables on a cafeteria stage for an assembly later that day. While moving the tables she felt a twinge on her left side and did not immediately report it because she did not believe she had injured herself.
After several days of back pain, she went to the assistant principal she was provided the appropriate paperwork to go to a clinic for an examination.
She was later examined at a Little Rock hospital where s doctor in the emergency room wrote that the onset of Wise’s back pain was “after lifting tables at work” and the location where the incident occurred “was at work.”
Wise was referred to a specialist and received physical therapy. She filed for workers compensation, but an administrative law judge found that she had failed to prove she suffered an injury for which she could receive compensation.
She appealed that ruling to the full commission which in a 2-1 decision reversed the decision and found that she had received an injury for which compensation was warranted. The commission expressly found Wise to be a “credible witness” and that medical records backed up her claim that she had been injured at work.
The Sheridan School District appealed the commissions ruling but writing the Court of Appeals, Judge Phillip T. Whiteaker said the District’s arguments amounted to a challenge to Wise’s credibility and since the commission determined she was credible, the court is bound by that decision.