Village of Scarsdale, 113 NYWCLR 126 (N.Y.W.C.B., Full Board 2013).
Ruling: The New York Workers' Compensation Board affirmed the workers' compensation judge's decision amending a firefighter's claim to include a compensable back injury as a result of an accident while engaged in a rope escape training exercise.
What it means: In New York, a medical opinion on the issue of causation must signify a probability as to the underlying cause of the worker's injury that is supported by a rational basis.
Summary: The New York Workers' Compensation Board affirmed the WCJ's decision amending a firefighter's claim to include a compensable back injury as a result of an accident while engaged in a rope escape training exercise. The treating doctor opined that the firefighter did not have a preexisting back condition, and he diagnosed an independent injury to his back based on the profound improvement of his back symptoms after an epidural steroid injection in the lumbar spine. While the doctor conceded that he did not record the mechanism of injury, he confirmed that the training exercise could have caused an injury to the firefighter's lumbar spine.
The employer's expert conceded that the mechanism of injury reported by the firefighter could have caused an injury to his back. The treating doctor's conclusion, along with several medical reports indicating causal relationship to the back, undermined the opinion of the employer's expert that the firefighter did not sustain a back injury.
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November 4, 2013
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