Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions
- Intervening causes
The worker suffered a low back injury on January 25, 2011. The worker was involved in a non-compensable motor vehicle accident on May 4, 2011. The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying LOE benefits beyond May 20, 2011. Board Operational Policy Manual, Document No. 15-05-03, on non-work-related second accidents, provides that there is no entitlement for the second accident if the second accident is not work-related. If the second accident aggravates the compensable condition and the compensable condition is at or near full recovery, benefits may cease. If the compensable condition is not at or near full recovery, aggravation of the work-related impairment may be accepted. In this case, the worker's condition had improved with treatment and he was approaching full recovery but the Panel found that he was not sufficiently near full recovery so as to warrant cessation of benefits. He was working half his usual shift at work, with limitations on weight and frequency of lifting. The Board policy provides that benefits may cease, which is discretionary, if a worker is at or near full recovery. The Panel found that the worker's compensable condition would not have resolved by May 20, had it not been for the non-compensable accident. He continued to suffer from the work-related back stain. The worker was entitled to benefits beyond May 20, 2011. The appeal was allowed.