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Workers' Compensation

West Virginia: Supreme Court Says No Support for Board's Medical Findings

In spite of the deference afforded West Virginia's Workers' Compensation Board of Review when it comes to fact-finding, the state's Supreme Court, in a memorandum decision, reversed the Board's decision that awarded benefits for a worker's bilateral rotator cuff tears. Noting that the worker's primary physician had been the only physician to opine that the worker's compensable injury resulted in bilateral rotator cuff tears, the Court pointed to the same doctor's deposition, in which he had indicated it was very difficult for him to determine if the rotator cuff tears were the result of degeneration or trauma. The Court also noted that the physician testified that he usually referred patients to a specialist to make the causation determination. Given such guarded testimony, in the face of multiple other medical experts, including one who performed an independent medical evaluation of the worker, who did not tie the workers' injury to his rotator cuff tears, the Court said there was insufficient support for the Board's findings. The matter was remanded for reinstatement of the earlier decision denying benefits.

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 West Va. Univ. v. Shaffer, 2020 W. Va. LEXIS 525 (July 9, 2020)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 128.03.

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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