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District of Columbia: Employer Must Use Targeted Evidence to Rebut Presumption of Compensability

June 28, 2020 (1 min read)

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals reversed a decision of the District's Compensation Review Board that denied workers' compensation benefits to a diabetic worker after finding that the employer had adequately rebutted the District's presumption of compensability [see D.C. Code § 32-1521(1)] where the employer's medical expert testified that the dominant factors in causing the claimant's stroke were her uncontrolled hypertension and poorly controlled diabetes mellitus. The court stressed, however, that the employee's theory of compensability had not been specifically rebutted. She had contended her work aggravated her preexisting hypertension. The employer's substantial evidence must address the employee's specific theory of causation and the employer's expert here had not placed the employee's theory into question. The court stressed that the relevant question was not whether the employee's work was the most dominant or even a major contributory factor to her stroke; it was whether her work was a contributing factor, a question upon the employer's expert never opined. Under these circumstances, it was error to find the presumption had been rebutted.

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 Ramos v. District of Columbia Dep't of Empl. Servs., 2020 D.C. App. LEXIS 188 (May 28, 2020)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 130.06.

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

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see

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