When an employee’s work-related medical condition grows worse, the insurer may contest the claim on the basis that the worsening is caused not by the original work injury, but by the employee’s growing older. The employee has the burden of proving that he or she should continue to receive benefits because the worsening of the condition is not caused by aging, but by the work injury.
An example is an employee’s pain growing more severe, requiring stronger doses of pain medication. Even when the pain, in the opinion of the examining physician, is out of proportion to any objective physiological findings, if the physician finds the employee to be credible, he or she may form an expert opinion that the employee can’t work based on that pain report.
However, the judge, in the decision awarding benefits, needs to make specific findings that the employee’s underlying work-related injury grew worse for reasons other than the employee’s growing older. The judge’s analysis is critical to a proper foundation for the award of benefits. Continue reading →