Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 1579 17
S. Netten
  • Non-economic loss {NEL} (preexisting condition)
  • Permanent impairment {NEL} (rating schedule) (AMA Guides) (combined values)
  • Pensions (conversion to NEL ratings)

The worker suffered five compensable accidents from 1984 to 2002. He received a 12% pension for bilateral knee disability from a 1984 accident, a 10% pension for low back disability from a 1986 accident, a 6% NEL award for right knee impairment from a 1990 accident, a 38% NEL award for low back impairment from a 1995 accident and a 3% NEL award for noise-induced hearing loss from a 2002 accident.

The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer finding that he was not eligible under the serious injuries program.
The Board converted the pensions to NEL ratings and combined the awards, resulting in a 48% NEL award, which was below the 60% threshold required for consideration under the serious injuries program.
The worker did not object to converting the pensions to NEL ratings but submitted that the pensions should not be combined with the NEL ratings. However, the Vice-Chair noted that, in converting the pensions, the Board rated all the conditions using the AMA Guides, so that it was correct to combine the ratings.
The Vice-Chair reviewed all the ratings and made some variances. The result was a 52% NEL award, which was still below the threshold. Accordingly, the worker was not severely impaired for purposes of the serious injuries program.
The appeal was allowed in part.