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Weidert v. Chris’ Home Improvements, W. C. No. 4-516-840 (2005)

Industrial Claim Appeals Court

Final Order
 
Jeffery Weidert was a hard-working window washer employed by Chris’ Home Improvement (Chris’ Home) on September 21, 2001. On that day, Mr. Weidert injured his back, and brought a claim against Chris’ Home for temporary total disability and health care. Chris’ Home denied liability on the grounds that Mr. Weidert was an independent contractor, not an employee and that Mr. Weidert’s condition was caused by a pre-existing condition, not an industrial accident.  
 
Though evidence offered by both parties conflicted, the administrative law judge (ALJ) ruled that Chris’ Home failed to prove Mr. Weidert was an independent contractor and that Mr. Weidert’s back injury was caused by an industrial accident. The ALJ ordered that the respondents pay for temporary total disability and health care for Mr. Weidert.
 
On appeal, Chris’ Home contented that the record did not support the ALJ’s determination that Mr. Weidert was an employee. After review of the nine criteria for determining whether an individual is an employee or independent contractor outlined in § 8-40-202(2)(b)(II), C.R.S. 2002, the Industrial Claim Appeals Office (the Panel) affirmed the ALJ’s determination. Although several of the factors indicated Mr. Weidert could be classified as an independent contractor, the Panel concluded that the ALJ’s decision to classify Mr. Weidert as an employee was supported by the record because his employment could be terminated at any time, Chris’ Home established a quality standard, and Mr. Weidert was paid personally by Chris’ Home.  
 
Chris’ Home also argued that the record did not support the ALJ’s determination that Mr. Weidert fell from a ladder on September 21 and injured his back. Chris’ Home pointed to the ALJ’s determination that a portion of Mr. Weidert’s testimony was “incredible.” The Panel held that it was well within the ALJ’s discretion to credit the portion of Mr. Weidert’s testimony that he fell off the ladder while discrediting Mr. Weidert’s contention that he did not set the ladder against the house. Further, the medical records supported Mr. Weidert’s onset of low back symptoms.
 
Since the record supported the ALJ’s order for temporary total disability and health care, the Panel affirmed. Mr. Weidert, due to proper lawyering by Mr. Simon, received the benefits that he was entitled. So great was Mr. Simon’s commitment to his client, Mr. Simon advanced the cost of his clients appeal and charged no additional fees for the appeal.