Worker fails to prove compensable left knee pain due to awkward gait
Grimes v. Faulkner Mitsubishi, 28 PAWCLR 88 (Pa. W.C.A.B. 2013).
Ruling: The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Appeal Board reversed the workers' compensation judge's finding that the worker's work-related injuries included left knee pain caused by overcompensating for her right knee injury.
What it means: In Pennsylvania, where medical experts attribute the worker's left knee pain to the aggravation of a preexisting right knee condition, and not work injuries, and the worker did not prove an aggravation of the preexisting arthritis, she is precluded from a benefit award for left knee pain.
Summary: The board reversed the WCJ's finding that the worker's work-related injuries included compensatory left knee pain caused by overcompensating for a right knee injury. The worker's examining doctor attributed her left knee pain to the aggravation of the right knee arthritis, which was a preexisting condition. The employer's expert acknowledged that an awkward gait on one side could affect the other knee, and attributed the awkward gait to the worker's underlying arthritis. This evidence, along with the WCJ's finding that the worker did not prove an aggravation of her preexisting arthritis, precluded a benefit award for the left knee pain.
The board found that the WCJ erred in denying the employer's termination petition. The medical experts agreed that the worker's accepted injuries had resolved.
The board also found the worker did not meet her burden of establishing a violation of the workers' compensation law. There was no indication on the record that the employer failed to pay for treatment for the accepted injuries. The worker's allegations related to physical therapy for the aggravation of her osteoarthritis, which the WCJ did not accept as a work injury.
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August 30, 2013
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