FROM THE LABOR AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COMMISSION
Victor C. Howard, Presiding Judge, Lisa White Hardwick and
Edward R. Ardini, Jr., Judges.
White Hardwick, Judge.
Jensen-Price appeals the Labor and Industrial Relations
Commission's ("Commission") decision denying
her claim for permanent total disability benefits after a
maintenance worker's cart collided with her leg and
caused her to fall as she was engaged in a work activity for
her job with Encompass Medical Group ("Employer").
Jensen-Price contends the Commission's decision
constituted an erroneous application of the law and was not
supported by the evidence. For reasons explained herein, we
reverse the Commission's decision and remand the case for
further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
and Procedural History
is 66 years old. She graduated from high school, received her
RN certificate, and completed her coursework and
certification to be a nurse practitioner. Jensen-Price worked
as a nurse practitioner for Employer for over 30 years. As a
nurse practitioner, her job duties included evaluating,
treating, and diagnosing patients; ordering labs and tests;
interacting with patients, which sometimes required her to
lift heavy patients; and computerized charting. Jensen-Price
worked ten or more hours per day and was on her feet for
almost eight hours each day. She worked five days a week and
took eight hours of work home to complete each weekend. She
rarely missed work and received raises and good work
saw patients in Employer's office, which was in a leased
suite on the fourth floor of a commercial office building.
Employer's office was accessible by taking either the
stairs or elevators to the fourth floor, then walking down a
hallway to the Employer's suite.
August 6, 2010, Jensen-Price left Employer's office at
approximately 7:00 p.m. and walked down the hallway to the
elevator. She was carrying her purse on one arm and had her
laptop computer, which she was taking home to perform work
for Employer, in a rolling briefcase that she was pulling
with her other arm. When the elevator door opened, it
appeared dark inside the elevator, and no one came out of the
elevator. Jensen-Price started to walk into the elevator
when, all of a sudden, a housekeeping cart came out of the
elevator and hit her leg, causing her to fall to the floor.
The floor was carpeted concrete. Jensen-Price injured her
back and the back of her head in the fall, and was diagnosed
with a fracture of the first lumbar vertebra and a disk
herniation at the L4-5 level.
requested treatment for her injuries from Employer, but
Employer denied her request. On her own, Jensen-Price sought
out pain management medications, injections, and surgical
repair of her back injury, with follow-up physical therapy.
She developed post-surgical complications, including a
post-operative infection in her incision site and a pulmonary
embolism. The infection has caused her to have ongoing pain
at the surgical site. After her back surgery, Jensen-Price
suffered a heart attack, which required stent placement. Her
medical bills thus far total $77, 703.13.
her 2010 accident, Jensen-Price continues to have significant
back pain, which she rates a six out of ten on the pain
scale. She takes narcotic pain medication and muscle relaxers
because the pain in her back never goes away and causes
aching in her hips and legs. Jensen-Price's back pain
interrupts her sleep, causing her to get only four to six
hours of sleep a night. Consequently, she sometimes naps
during the day and needs to lie down, with a heating pad on
her back, for 30 minutes to an hour up to three times each
day. As a result of her head injury from the incident, she
continues to have occasional headaches, dizziness, and
has difficulty performing her own personal grooming and
household chores. She cannot sit, stand, or walk for extended
periods, and she uses a cane for stability while walking
outdoors or on stairs. Since her accident, she no longer
participates in her preferred hobbies of dancing, walking,
and shopping, and she drives only short distances.
filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits against
Employer and the Second Injury Fund. In her claim, she
alleged that her injury from the 2010 accident, plus a prior
back injury and fibromyalgia, rendered her either permanently
and partially disabled or permanently and totally disabled.
December 2014, a hearing was held before an Administrative
Law Judge ("ALJ") on Jensen-Price's claim. In
addition to her own testimony, Jensen-Price offered medical
records, medical bills, and the reports of her medical
expert, Employer's medical expert, and her vocational
expert. Both of the medical experts and the vocational expert
opined that Jensen-Price was permanently and totally
denied Jensen-Price's claim for compensation. The ALJ
found that Employer had no control over the common areas of
the building, which included the hallway where Jensen-Price
sustained her injuries. The ALJ further found that the
incident occurred as Jensen-Price was going from work and,
because the accident did not occur on property owned or
controlled by Employer, her injury was not compensable.
appealed to the Commission. The Commission found that,
because Jensen-Price was carrying her laptop with her for the
purpose of performing some work for Employer at her home, she
was engaged in the process of going from one worksite to
another when the accident occurred. As a result, the
Commission determined that the ALJ's application of the
extension of premises doctrine, which is an exception to the
going to and from work rule, was not appropriate in this
case. Rather, the Commission concluded that compensability