Reminding the parties that the burden of proof consists of two elements: the burden of production and the burden of persuasion, the Supreme Court of Wyoming affirmed the denial of workers’ compensation benefits for back pain that the claimant believed was related to an earlier workplace accident. Admitting that the case was “a close call” and citing Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the high court indicated the claimant carried her burden of production by virtue of her medical expert’s testimony that it was more probable than not that claimant’s May 2009 incident contributed in a material fashion to the aggravation of her delayed back injury. But claimant also had the obligation to persuade the hearing examiner that her delayed back pain was in fact causally connected to the May 2009 incident. The hearing examiner indicated the opinions of the Division’s medical experts were more convincing. The court instructed that whether it might reach the same result was not the standard; it deferred to the OAH decision because it was based upon relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept.
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.
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See Hirsch v. State, ex rel. Wyoming Workers’ Safety & Comp. Div., 2014 WY 61, 2014 Wyo. LEXIS 66 (May 12, 2014) [2014 Wyo. LEXIS 66 (May 12, 2014)]
See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 130.05 [130.05]
Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.
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