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No Further Causally Related Disability Due to Intervening Unrelated Accident

Feb 15, 2021 | MAD News, NYS Workers Compensation

This was an established neck and back claim.  The issue for litigation was further causally related lost time.  The claimant sustained an unrelated motor vehicle accident in February involving various body sites, including her neck and back.

As we reviewed the file, we realized that the claimant’s medical evidence had changed dramatically after her accident.  Six days before the accident, the claimant’s treating doctor opined that she had a moderate lumbar disability, with mild to moderate motion deficits in her thoracic and low back.   After the accident, she was given a temporary total disability by her doctors.  Her providers testified that that after the accident, the claimant reported tenderness to her spine and her range of motion had decreased in both her neck and her low back.  During cross-examination, they conceded that she had injured her neck and re-injured her back in the MVA and admitted that the MVA had exacerbated her back injury.  They also confirmed that her MRI findings had changed following the MVA. They agreed that it would be difficult to attribute her current condition specifically to her Workers’ Compensation claim.

We argued that the claimant had suffered a new and unrelated accident, and that her subsequent disability was not causally related to her Workers’ Compensation claim.  In our memorandum, we cited Employer: Wedgewood Care Center.  In this case, the Board Panel upheld the Judge’s decision that the claimant suffered a new, intervening and superseding back injury as a result of an unrelated motor vehicle accident and found that the claimant did not have a further causally related disability to her back after that accident.  Employer: Wedgewood Care Center, 20401097 New York Work. Comp. Bd. 2009.

The Judge agreed with us and found that the claimant had no compensable disability after her MVA.  The judge also found the disputed bills in our favor on the grounds that the treatment was related to the MVA, not the claimant’s Workers’ Compensation claim.

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