Case name: White v. HB&G Building Products, Inc., No. 2090323 (Ala. Civ. App. 08/20/10).
Ruling: The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals found that a worker's knee injury was a recurrence of a previous injury, making a first employer responsible for paying benefits.
What it means: Under the last injurious exposure rule, the employer at the time of a second injury is responsible for a new injury or aggravation of a prior injury. A recurrence of an injury is paid by the first employer.
The worker was employed as a work-release inmate. He slipped and fell at work and dislocated his right knee. The worker was treated by a doctor who opined that the knee was healing and did not need surgery. The worker told the doctor that his knee was still swelling, aching and popping, and he requested a second medical opinion. In the meantime, the worker asked a correction officer to change jobs. The second position required him to stand on a concrete floor and the worker's knee hurt and swelled. The worker did not have any other accidents after the fall. The second doctor suggested that the worker have surgery. The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals found that the worker's knee injury was a recurrence of the previous injury, making the first employer responsible for paying medical benefits.
The court noted that undisputed evidence showed that the worker's complaints of knee pain, swelling and aching never resolved before being treated by the second doctor. No evidence showed that the worker sustained a second knee injury. The second doctor could not say whether the activities at the second job aggravated the worker's knee problems or whether he experienced a continuance of his earlier condition.
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November 18, 2010
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