Jaskowiak v. Homer Township Fire
Congratulations to the Illinois Municipal League and Gina Terrano Panepinto for their successful defense on Appeal of this matter brought pursuant to Section 19(b)1 before Arbitrator Paul Cellini. Following briefing on Review and expedited Oral Arguments, Panel A of the Workers’ Compensation Commission affirmed the Arbitrator’s decision in Jaskowiak v. Homer Township Fire Protection District. The claimant was a fire fighter/paramedic who claimed injury to his foot and back after being disqualified from a 40-hour live fire training course due to heat exhaustion and dehydration. We questioned the credibility of the claimant regarding the timing of the disqualification from the live fire exercises followed by a later claim of injury. The claimant required emergency medical treatment for dehydration and heat exhaustion during the training exercises but did not report injury or pain to his foot or back to the medical professionals. We proved that an alleged accident was not reported until after he was disqualified from continuing the exercises and called witnesses in support of this defense. The Arbitrator found that the claimant failed to prove that there was an accident, citing issues with credibility and significant pre-existing medical conditions. On appeal, the Commission agreed with the Arbitrator on all issues finding the claimant failed to prove accident and causal connection. Therefore, the Commission denied all benefits, including a request for prospective medical treatment, including foot surgery.