Nebraska: Shoulder Injury Claim Fails Where Claimant’s Condition was the Natural Progression of Preexisting Torn Rotator Cuff

Nebraska: Shoulder Injury Claim Fails Where Claimant’s Condition was the Natural Progression of Preexisting Torn Rotator Cuff

As is the case in a number of states, in Nebraska, if a workers' compensation case involves a preexisting condition, the claimant must prove that the claimed injury or disability was caused by the claimant's employment and that it was not merely the natural progression of a condition present before the employment [see Neb. Rev. Stat. § 48-151(4).  Construing that and other provisions of the state’s Act, the Supreme Court of Nebraska recently affirmed the compensation court’s dismissal of a claim for workers’ compensation benefits filed by an employee who claimed he sustained a compensable shoulder injury moving a 300 pound tub containing machine parts.  The high court noted that the claimant had complained of shoulder pain for as many as eight years prior to being hired by the employer and, indeed, had been diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff more than two years before he began his work. Quoting Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the Court noted that the claimant could point to no intervening event causing his current condition.  Following the 2009 diagnosis, the claimant continued to have the same pain and limitations. There was no error in the compensation court’s conclusion that the claimant’s symptoms were a natural of his original pre-employment injury.

Reported by Thomas A. Robinson, J.D.

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See Gills v. Nebraska Machine Prods., Inc., 2013 Neb. App. LEXIS 122 (July 9, 2013) [2013 Neb. App. LEXIS 122 (July 9, 2013)].

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

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

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