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Workers' Compensation

Kentucky: Claimant’s Lay Testimony Insufficient to Establish Causal Connection Between Her Need for Additional Treatment and Work-Related Injuries 23 Years Earlier

Testimony by a claimant that she continued to have pain and discomfort almost 23 years after sustaining a work-related back injury, together with a physician’s notes that indicated those same complaints had been recounted to the doctor at an office visit, but which were silent with regard to causation, were insufficient to support claimant’s petition that her case be reopened and that additional medical treatment and medications be supplied and paid for by the employer, held a divided Kentucky appellate court.  Noting that the employer had produced unrebutted expert medical evidence that claimant’s current condition was not causally connected to the original injury, but rather to the significant weight gain and other independent medical issues that had developed long after the work-related injury, the appellate court reversed a decision by the state’s Workers’ Compensation Board and found the claimant had failed to sustain her burden of demonstrating her appointments with her physician and prescriptions for Lorcet, Lyrica, Skelaxin, Celexa and Xanax were related to her 1989 work injury.  Citing Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the majority added that there were some situations in which a board decision would be upheld on review when the board made findings contradicting the medical testimony.  Those cases usually involved matters of observable causation where the doctors testified negatively and the board had found causation.  Where, as here, the question was one properly within the province of medical experts, the board was not so justified in disregarding the evidence.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is a leading commentator and expert on the law of workers’ compensation.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to

See Sumitomo Elec. Wiring v. Kingery, 2014 Ky. App. LEXIS 119 (June 27, 2014) [2014 Ky. App. LEXIS 119 (June 27, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 128.03 [128.03]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.

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