Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 2707 16
Z. Onen
  • Disc, degeneration
  • Pensions (reassessment)

The worker suffered a low back injury in 1988, for which he was granted a 10% pension. The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying a reassessment of the pension due to permanent worsening of his condition.

The worker had some mechanical low back pain as a result of the compensable accident. Evidence indicated that he was very fit, moved well and had normal range of motion.
When the worker applied for the reassessment, more than 20 years later, he had degeneration in his spine at multiple levels, as well as other medical conditions. A Tribunal medical discussion paper notes that, to cause later degenerative change, an accident to the spine must be a high energy injury. Such an injury would require significant investigation and treatment at the time, and any subsequent deterioration would be at the site of the injury. In this case, there was no evidence of a high impact injury, and the worker had degeneration at multiple levels, suggesting that the changes were related to the ageing process.
There was no worsening of the worker's condition that was related to the compensable accident. The appeal was dismissed.