Lack of causation strikes compensation for carpenter's infection
Case name: Wagner v. Jeld Wen, Inc., No. A147644 (Or. Ct. App. 04/25/12).
Ruling: The Oregon Court of Appeals held that a carpenter was not entitled to benefits for his infected testicle.
What it means: In Oregon, a worker can be entitled to benefits if he shows that his condition and need for medical services were related to a work event.
Summary: A carpenter was working when a coworker pulled a tape measure out to an arm's length and let the heavy end swing out and strike the carpenter in the groin. The carpenter fell to his knees but experienced only mild and temporary discomfort. He continued working that day without pain or symptoms. The next day, he noticed some swelling and discomfort, which became extremely painful the following morning. His treating physician noted elevated blood pressure and a fever, as well as swelling, redness, and tenderness in his groin. An ultrasound, blood test, and urinalysis revealed an infected testicle. A urological specialist agreed that the infection was due to a viral or bacterial disease rather than the trauma from the workplace incident. The carpenter sought compensation, and the employer denied his claim. The Oregon Court of Appeals held that he was not entitled to compensation.
The court rejected the carpenter's argument that the workplace incident was a material contributing cause of his need for medical services. The court explained that the mere fact that the carpenter sought medial services did not mean he had a compensable injury.
Here, the workplace incident did not require medical services. Although he felt minor and temporary discomfort when he was struck in the groin, the discomfort did not last, and he did not take action at that time. He did not seek medical attention until two days after the workplace incident when he experienced severe pain and swelling. The pain that caused him to seek medical attention was the result of an infection that was not caused by the workplace incident.
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July 2, 2012
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