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North Iowa woman awarded over $40K in disability pay from Manly Care Center

snow-shovel-in-snowMANLY – A North Iowa woman who worked as a caregiver at a local nursing home was recently awarded over $40,000 in disability benefits after claiming injury while shoveling snow at work.

According to a finding by the Iowa Worker’s Compensation Board, Melissa Coe filed a petition in arbitration and sought workers’ compensation benefits from Manly Nursing & Rehab Center, located in Manly, Iowa.

According to the board’s file, Ms. Coe began work at the nursing home with no physical ailments, but injured her back on December 20, 2010 when she was assisting with snow removal to clear the walkways during a blizzard. According to the finding, the snow was wet and heavy, and Ms. Coe was not using a shovel designed to lift the snow but rather a push shovel that was designed to plow. She did this on two occasions for 30 minutes each time. Ms. Coe was experiencing some symptoms when she went home from work that day including a headache. She went home and engaged in no further activity. The following morning she awoke with back pain and reported the injury as soon as her supervisor came in to the office.

Ms. Coe sought medical treatment in the aftermath of the injury and was later fired from her job in 2011.

During the ensuing course of pursuing disability benefits, the Manly Care Center introduced video surveillance of Ms. Coe. She was depicted in the video squatting to put air in her tire, bending over to tie her shoe, walking across the street, getting into a van, sitting on deck steps and pushing an empty grocery cart. On the basis of that video and the opinions of their own medical experts, the Manly Care Center based its case on refusing to pay disability benefits.

The board found that Ms. Coe suffered an industrial disability, affecting her ability to work and earn a living, and awarded her 125 weekly payments of $329.70 each as well as a lump sum of accrued benefits. That total was not disclosed in the public file. The Manly Care Center must also pay over $600 in costs to cover the board’s action.

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