Date: October 2, 2012
Posted In: DLP Law

           Sam had worked on the loading dock for twenty years and, while he occasionally had aches and pains, he never sustained any injuries. Sam’s luck ran out when he and a co-worker were carrying a heavy box and the co-worker let go of the box very suddenly from one end. This caused Sam to twist in an awkward position and resulted in several herniated discs.

             Sam would undergo surgery and several months later was sent by Sam’s employer’s Workers’ Compensation carrier to a doctor to be examined.

             Sam went to the exam and the doctor said that Sam could go back to work without restrictions. This was against the advice of Sam’s treating physician, but Sam was afraid that he would lose his job, and he returned to work.

             The first day on the job Sam was carrying a forty pound box and bent over to put it down when he felt a sharp pain in his back and immediately went to the hospital.

 ISSUE:          Sam had reinjured his back and wanted to know whether he could sue the doctor who had released him back to work.

 ANSWER:     No. This doctor that had examined Sam and released him to work was not a treating physician and had no physician/patient relationship with Sam. Unfortunately for Sam, his recovery from what would be a second operation would take far longer and be far less complete. Equally unfortunate for Sam was the fact that he did not consult an attorney before he attempted to return to work against the advice of his own treating physician.

 Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive.  Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column. 





Cal Leventhal
Cal is a graduate of the University of Miami (magna Cum Laude) and attended Loyola and Notre Dame law schools graduating in 1976. He is admitted to the Bars of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and both state and federal trial and appellate courts situated in Pennsylvania.