Specifically, in Reid
, the Court of Appeals discussed the second prong of a request for catastrophic designation: whether the Claimant's injury prevents them from performing work available in substantial numbers within the national economy for which they are otherwise qualified. In Reid, the 66 year-old Claimant sustained a compensable hand injury in 2000 while working as a housekeeper, and ultimately sought to have her injury designated as catastrophic under O.C.G.A. Â§ 34-9-200.1(g)(6).
The lesson from Reid
is that the Employer/Insurer needs to be aware of the evidence required by a Claimant
to prove their injury is catastrophic.From an Employer/Insurer standpoint, it provides guidance on the type of evidence the Employer/Insurer must be prepared to attack at a hearing.Specifically, the Claimant's own testimony will likely not suffice to carry her
burden before the ALJ.At a bare minimum, a Claimant
must show that they unsuccessfully attempted to obtain work with their restrictions.This would support an inference that such jobs are unavailable.If the testimony on this issue is particularly vague, as the case was in Reid
, then it would not qualify as competent evidence, and, therefore not support a catastrophic designation.
In defending against catastrophic requests, the Employer/Insurer must delve deep into the specifics of a Claimant's work search.When a Claimant
is able to testify to the reasons why they are unable to find work, then a vocational rehabilitation expert and labor market survey can be crucial and necessary tools to use in demonstrating the Claimant
is in fact capable of performing work which she
is otherwise qualified that exists in substantial numbers in the national economy.