Claimant appealed the decision of an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) who approved Claimant’s Section 8(i) settlement agreement. Claimant, a Defense Base Act employee, was injured when his weapon’s butt stock struck his breastbone, injuring his chest and ribs. He voluntarily signed a $15,000 settlement which stated that Dr. Boris Bacic examined him. Later, however, Claimant stated that he was not actually examined by Dr. Bacic.
The Benefits Review Board (“BRB”) affirmed the ALJ’s decision. Interestingly, Claimant did not complain about the amount of the settlement, but instead, the fact that the settlement was not based on the opinion of an examining physician. The BRB noted that the regulations require only that the settlement contain “[a] current medical report,”and there is “no requirement that the report be from a physician who personally examined claimant.” See 20 C.F.R. § 702.242(b)(5). The statement in the settlement that Claimant was actually examined by Dr. Bacic was harmless.
(Note: I originally published this post on Navigable Waters: A Maritime, Longshore and Defense Base Act Blog.)