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Causation in Workers Compensation

Posted by James Aspell | Dec 13, 2022 | 0 Comments

An important concept that a lot of folks, clients and lawyers dont understand when it comes to workers compensation is the notion of causation. Just because one happened to be at work when they sustained injury does not, in and of itself, mean that the injury is compensable. In addition to actually being at work and doing those tasks your employer directed you to do, those activities must also have been the cause of your injury.

The most common scenario this arises is when a worker has a previous or remote injury to a given body part and then, while working at a later date, experiences a flare up of pain to the previously injured area. Whether or not this second incident would be compensable will depend if it was an aggravation or worsening of the previous injury, or was merely an exacerbation. This is, of course, a medical question, and one that will require the workers comp lawyer to confer with the treating doctor to elicit an opinion on causation. If the answer is that the most recent injury was an aggravation, then the second case would be compensable. If on the other hand it was only an exacerbation of the earlier claim, then the most recent employer would not be liable and the lawyer would then look back to the earlier injury.

Repetitive trauma claims such as carpal or cubital tunnel syndrome are also frequent areas where causation becomes an issue. We must prove, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, i.e. "more likely than not" that the work activities were the cause of disabling medical condition.

As you can see, this can be tricky, and requires a lot of back and forth between the client, the doctor, and the defense attorney. If you have any questions on these topics, either as a lawyer, a doctor, or an injured worker, feel free to reach out at any time. 860-523-8783.

About the Author

James Aspell

Principal since August 1, 2006 James F. Aspell is the principal and managing attorney of the firm which he started in 2006 following 20 years of litigation practice in a mid -size firm in Hartford, Connecticut. Jim focuses his practice in the areas of worker's compensation and personal injury l...


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