Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 976 17
M. Crystal
  • Consequences of injury (iatrogenic illness) (medication)
  • Psychotraumatic disability
  • Apportionment (LOE) (multiple claims)

The worker suffered a hand injury in 1982. Entitlement was later extended to the elbow and shoulder. The Board granted the worker a 2.2% pension, later increased to 5.2%, then to 8.2% and finally to 18.2%.

The worker suffered a low back injury in December 1999. The Board granted the worker a 25% NEL award for low back impairment, later increased to 29% and then to 33%.
The worker also suffered a left ankle injury in November 2009, for which the Board granted him a 5% NEL award.
The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer regarding benefits for the accidents in December 1999 and November 2009.
The worker was unable to work after April 2010. The Vice-Chair found that the worker was entitled to full LOE benefits after April 2010 (subject to statutory reviews), related to the accident in November 1999. That accident was minor compared to the worker's other compensable accidents. However, he was able to maintain employment. It was the ankle injury that caused the worker to stop working in April 2010, notwithstanding that it was less serious than the previous injuries.
LOE benefits are not apportioned between various claims. Rather, they must be attributed to the claim that caused the wage loss. Accordingly, the LOE benefits after April 2010 are properly attributed to the ankle injury claim of November 2009.
The worker claimed entitlement to dental benefits. The Vice-Chair denied that claim. The worker's dental problems were related to poor dental hygiene, not to medication prescribed for his compensable conditions.
The worker had entitlement for psychotraumatic disability. The Vice-Chair also related the psychotraumatic disability to the ankle injury claim in November 2009. Again, the ankle injury was minor compared to the other injuries, but it contributed to the worker leaving his long-term employment with the accident employer. The worker's inability to continue his employment and earn income after the ankle injury was closely associated with the worker's development of depression and anxiety.
The appeal was allowed in part.