BILLINGSLY v. CITY OF GADSDEN
Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama
July 24, 2015
Plaintiff was employed with the City of Gadsden and was injured in an automobile
accident while she was acting in the line and scope of her employment.
Plaintiff filed a claim for benefits pursuant to the Alabama Workers’
Compensation Act. Plaintiff claimed injury to her neck, shoulder, back,
ribs, headaches, and certain emotional or psychological issues. Plaintiff
was awarded a 25% impairment to the left shoulder, and was not awarded
any workers’ compensation benefits related to any of her other claimed injuries.
The Court of Civil Appeals reviewed the findings of the trial court and
the evidence submitted thereto and found that Plaintiff had a history
of neck pain, and psychological treatment. Plaintiff’s medical records
showed that plaintiff’s complaints of injury to her body other than
her shoulder had resolved and were not compensable under the Alabama Workers’
Compensation Act, and thus affirmed the trial court’s findings with
respect to plaintiff’s claimed injuries other than her shoulder.
Then, with respect to the shoulder, the Court of Civil Appeals reversed
the trial court’s award based on a 25% impairment to the shoulder,
finding that a shoulder injury is not a scheduled member. Pursuant to
Ala. Code § 25-5-57(a)(3), compensation for permanent partial disability
is supposed to be compensated at 66/23 percent of the difference between
the average weekly earnings of the worker at the time of the injury and
the average weekly earnings he or she is able to earn in his or her partially
Considering that plaintiff’s injury was not to a scheduled member
under the Alabama Workers’ Compensation act, the trial court was
supposed to make an express finding that plaintiff had lost an ability
to earn an income, which it did not. Otherwise, no basis for an award
would exist. The only portion of the judgment reversed was the award for
the plaintiff. The proceedings were remanded to circuit court to determine
the extent, if any, plaintiff’s injury impacted her ability to earn
an income, and to award plaintiff benefits in accordance with such a determination.