Workers' Compensation

Oregon: Court Draws Important Distinction Between “Susceptible to” and “Preexisting Condition”

In Oregon, the old adage, “The employer takes employees as it finds them,” doesn’t always apply. With regard to occupational disease claims, for example, the claimant must prove that his or her employment was the “major contributing cause” of the disease and further, preexisting conditions are deemed by special statute [Ore. Rev. Stat. § 656.802(2)(e)] to be “causes" for purposes of determining the disease's major contributing cause. In an important decision, a state appellate court has clarified, however, that if a claimant has a mere susceptibility or predisposition that does not contribute to the cause of symptoms or a need for treatment, he or she does notsuffer from a preexisting condition. Here, the claimant had a congenital condition in his foot. The court remanded the case, however, finding the Board's determination that claimant's congenital condition did not actively contribute to claimant's disability or need for treatment was not supported by substantial reason. The Board needed to utilize the proper legal standard.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See In re Comp. of David D. Dunn, 297 Ore. App. 206, 2019 Ore. App. LEXIS 545 (Apr. 24, 2019)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 9.02.

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

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see