An Orlando motorcycle mechanic and training instructor suffered several injuries while employed with Universal Technical Institute (UTI) over the past eleven years. In 2003 he suffered injuries to his head, in 2005 he injured his low back while lifting, in 2009 he injured his left hand, elbow, wrist and shoulder resulting in multiple surgeries and on March 10, 2011 he injured his back while lifting a motorcycle engine.
Following the injury, the claimant felt no back pain; he simply heard a “clunck”, though he did feel pain in the hip and calf. More than a week later his supervisor noticed he was limping and inquired as to the cause of the problem. The claimant advised that he didn’t know what he had done. He had surgery related to the 2009 accident and then returned to work for two days before being fired for a, “reduction in force.”
In June, 2011, just days after being terminated, he saw his family doctor who ordered an MRI which revealed two herniated discs and he was referred to a spine surgeon. He then saw the doctor workers’ compensation had provided for his 2005 back injury. This physician advised him the damage in his back was caused by the 3/10/11 work accident.
In June or July of 2011 he called the Human Resources department for UTI and reported the 3/10/11 injury. When asked why it took so long to report the accident he advised that he did not realize the extent of the 2011 injury due to the pain medication he was taking from a prior work accident and not until told by his family physician.
UTI’s workers’ compensation insurance company denied the accident based on a lack of reporting and notice defense and refused to provide medical or lost wage benefits.