Horizon Air Industries, Inc. v. Davis-Warren

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Workers Compensation
  • Date Filed: 10-15-2014
  • Case #: A150352
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Garrett, J.for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & DeVore, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 656.005(7)(a), to establish a compensable injury a claimant must prove that an injury was suffered in the course of employment and that the injury resulted in death, disability, or was severe enough to require medical services, including medical services with only a diagnostic or prophylactic purpose.

Claimant Lisa Davis-Warren (Davis-Warren), a flight attendant for Horizon Air Industries, Inc. (Horizon), suffered dizziness, nausea, and breathing difficulties as a result of failure of the plane cabin to fully pressurize during a flight on which Davis-Warren was working. After landing, Davis-Warren took a flight home rather than work her next scheduled flight. Davis-Warren proceeded to a hospital where a doctor determined Davis-Warren’s symptoms may have been caused by the cabin pressure changes and ordered a test of pressure by way of hyperbaric treatment to aid in identifying whether Davis-Warren had decompression sickness. Horizon denied Davis-Warren’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits; the denial was upheld by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) on the basis that Davis-Warren did not suffer a compensable injury. The ALJ found there was no possibility, under the circumstances, that Davis-Warren would develop a medical condition. The workers’ compensation board reversed, concluding that Davis-Warren was not required to prove a diagnosable medical condition, and that the hyperbaric treatments prescribed had a diagnostic purpose because there exists no diagnostic standard for compression sickness. The Court held Davis-Warren only had to show that the hyperbaric chamber treatments were a required medical service arising out of a workplace injury to show a compensable injury had occurred. Additionally, the Court held that medical services include diagnostic procedures or prophylactic treatment, not only those medical services directed toward the cure of a diagnosed medical condition. Affirmed.

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