Case name: Kimmel v. J. Wilson Barto Sons, Inc., 25 PAWCLR 96 (Pa. W.C.A.B. 2010).
Ruling: The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Appeal Board reversed in part the workers' compensation judge's grant of the claimant's claim petition.
What it means: A work-related aggravation of a nonwork-related preexisting condition is an "injury" within the meaning of the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act.
The claimant filed a claim petition alleging that he sustained a low back injury from heavy lifting. The WCJ denied the petition, finding that the claimant had preexisting, nonwork-related lumbar disk disease. The WCJ determined that the claimant did not establish that the work injury resulted in an anatomical aggravation of his lumbar disc disease, or that the work injury caused or aggravated his disk herniation. The board reversed the WCJ's decision, awarding the claimant partial disability benefits. The WCJ's finding that the claimant's pain increased, which resulted in him being in off-work status, was all that was required to establish an entitlement to benefits, as the WCJ determined that the work injury was the sole cause of his loss of earnings.
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August 5, 2010
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