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10 South LaSalle Street, Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60603

211 Landmark Drive, Suite C2, Normal, IL 61761

1015 Locust Street, Suite 914, St. Louis, MO 63101


Contradictions Create Incredibility

In the matter of Karen Suknovich v. Child Link, Inc. the injured worker, a registered nurse, was hired by her personal friend, the CEO of the insured, to review case files and ensure that children’s medical conditions were adequately addressed by social workers and placement families. Both the nurse and the CEO lived in the same neighborhood and were involved in the same social groups, attending book clubs, theatre outings, and various group trips over the years.

On one particular Friday following a weekly meeting, both nurse and CEO went to lunch at a Potbelly’s restaurant to discuss that evening’s plans with friends as well as an upcoming group trip to Nashville. On their drive back to the office, they were involved in a motor vehicle accident. Initially, the nurse did not have any complaints, but later developed pain in her neck and low back. She ultimately underwent treatment for her lumbar and cervical spine, including an L4-5 discectomy and a two level foraminotomy at C5-6 and C6-7.

At trial, the nurse testified the lunch was in fact a business event where both women discussed a prior work meeting. The CEO testified that she does not conduct business matters outside of the office and that she did not discuss any work-related matters with the nurse.

Respondent obtained an IME from Dr. George Holmes who specializes in orthopedic foot treatment. Dr. Holmes opined that the petitioner’s condition was idiopathic and that there is There were many credibility issues with Petitioner’s testimony at trial. They concerned her initial complaints of pain, her subsequent social outings and whether she was terminated from her employment with the insured. For example, she testified that she had suffered consistent neck and low back complaints since the accident. This was contradicted by both the police report generated at the scene of the accident and the medical evidence admitted at hearing. Petitioner also testified to her continued physical limitations, all of which were contradicted by the testimony of the CEO who continued to socialize with the nurse at various neighborhood events. A group picture of the trip to Nashville was admitted into evidence as well as pictures documenting the minimal damage to the cars caused by the motor vehicle accident.

The Arbitrator, in light of all of the evidence, deemed the testimony of the CEO more credible than the nurse. She concluded the unrefuted evidence at hearing corroborated the CEO’s depiction of the events leading up to the motor vehicle accident and found that no workplace accident occurred.

Assessing this successful outcome reflects that where witnesses contradict each other, the key to winning lies in corroborating evidence like medical evidence, police reports, and photographs.

  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyers Association
  • DRI
  • The Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • Illinois Self-Insurers' Association
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyers Association
  • DRI
  • The Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • Illinois Self-Insurers' Association
10 South LaSalle Street, Suite 900
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: 312-425-3131
211 Landmark Drive, Suite C2
Normal, IL 61761
Phone: 309-862-4914
1015 Locust Street, Suite 914
St. Louis, MO 63101
Phone: 314-300-0527
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