Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 9 20
16/01/2020
D. Revington
  • Recurrences (compensable injury)
  • Second accident

The worker suffered a left wrist injury in December 2015. She had previously suffered a right wrist injury in November 2006, for which the Board granted the worker a 10% NEL award. The employer appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer extending further entitlement for the right wrist.

The further entitlement for the right wrist could arguably be characterized as a secondary condition under Board Operational Policy Manual, Document No. 15-05-01, by being viewed as a new injury causally linked to use of the right wrist due to the left wrist injury, or a recurrence under Document No. 15-02-05, by being viewed as a recurrence of the 2006 right wrist injury triggered by overuse of the right wrist because of the 2015 left wrist injury.
The Vice-Chair noted that the worker's right wrist condition was diagnosed as DeQuervain's tenosynovitis in both 2006 and 2016, which supported a finding that this was a recurrence rather than a new accident. The Vice-Chair also noted that the worker described her condition as a flare-up of her first right wrist injury.
The recurrences policy requires determination of whether the worker experienced a significant deterioration of her right wrist condition that did not result from a significant new accident and that is clinically compatible with the original injury. The worker had not experienced right wrist pain beyond the level of her 10% impairment rating for several years before 2016. The sudden reporting of right wrist injury in 2016, causing her to seek medical treatment and impacting her ability to perform work duties, demonstrated that she experienced a significant deterioration. The worker's work duties in 2016 involved repetitive movements consistent with DeQuervain's tenosynovitis. There was a causal link between the significant deterioration in 2016 and the original wrist injury in 2006.
The Vice-Chair concluded that the worker experienced a recurrence of her right wrist condition as a result of her work duties in 2016. The appeal was dismissed.