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New Hampshire’s Compensation Appeals Board erred when it failed to award pain management benefits to an injured worker who sustained an original injury in 2013, underwent a C5–6 anterior discectomy and fusion with hardware, and continued to experience pain, shoulder discomfort, occipital headaches, arm aches, and numbness in her fingers. While it was true that she was involved in an automobile accident some six months after her initial injury and her physician indicated the accident increased her symptoms temporarily, the same doctor also indicated that the increased symptomology subsequently settled down. Although the employer presented no medical evidence, the hearing officer concluded, and the Board affirmed, that the accident was an intervening injurious event that broke the chain of causation. The appellate court said this was error. Language in a medical report that the auto accident “aggravated” the worker’s original injury was not sufficient to support the Board’s findings. The report was otherwise unequivocal that the worker’s pain issues were tied to her original workplace injury.
Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is the co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).
LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.
See Appeal of Morin, 2017 N.H. LEXIS 9 (Feb. 1, 2017)
See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 10.01.
Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law