GSI Commerce Solutions v. Gordon, No. 2009-CA-002270-WC (Ky. Ct. App. 07/16/10, unpublished).
Ruling: The Kentucky Court of Appeals held that a laborer was entitled to benefits because she proved that her medical condition was work-related.
What it means: A work-related injury that inflames a preexisting condition can be compensable even if the examining doctor is unaware of the preexisting condition.
A laborer sustained a work-related injury when she cut her hand. The wound became infected and a rash near the wound spread up her arm to her torso. The laborer admitted to having suffered from previous skin conditions that were treated, although an examining doctor was unaware of her preexisting condition. She stated that none of her skin issues were active at the time of her work-related injury. The Kentucky Court of Appeals held that the laborer was entitled to disability benefits because she successfully proved causation.
The employer argued that the Workers' Compensation Board failed to consider the laborer's preexisting skin condition. The court noted that no evidence was produced indicating that her preexisting condition was symptomatic and impairment ratable prior to her work-related injury. The court stated that when preexisting dormant conditions are "aroused into disabling reality by a work-related injury, any impairment or medical expense related solely to the preexisting condition is compensable."
The employer also contended that an examining doctor was not provided with the laborer's complete medical history prior to making a diagnosis. The court stated that the employer failed to show that the doctor's diagnosis was infirm or that causation was not proven because of the incomplete medical history. The doctor testified that after he had the opportunity to review the laborer's complete medical records, his medical opinion was unchanged. Additionally, the laborer's failure to disclose her previous medical issues did not rise to the level of active concealment.
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September 23, 2010
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