Appeals Panel No. 120311-s

Posted: Dec 8, 2014
Comments: 0

Extent of Injury Issue

Facts:        The injured employee broke her left ankle in the course and scope of her employment.  The injured employee underwent two surgeries.


Issue:         Does the compensable injury to the left ankle extend to and include a stress fracture of the left second metatarsal. 


Evidence:  The injured employee’s surgeon opined that the stress fracture was a direct result of initiation of weight bearing after a prolonged period of time of non-weight bearing and was a direct result of the injury. 


CCH D&O:     The Hearing Officer noted that the surgeon did not rule out other causes of the stress fracture, such as osteoporosis and diabetes; therefore, the hearing officer ruled that the injured employee did not meet her burden to show that the compensable injury to the left ankle extends to and includes a stress fracture of the left second metatarsal.


AP Holding:    The Appeals Panel reversed and rendered, stating that an analysis of other possible causes of an injury is only a factor when determining causation.  In this instance, the Hearing Officer may not require an injured employee to disprove every possible cause other than the one given by the injured employee’s expert.
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