Weiker v. Douglas County School Dist. No. 4

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Workers Compensation
  • Date Filed: 05-28-2015
  • Case #: A152818
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, P.J. for the Court; Haselton, C.J.; & Tookey, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 656.245(1)(a), medical treatment is only compensable when its purpose is to cure a condition caused in material part by a previously accepted, compensable condition.

Weiker (Claimant) sought judicial review of a decision by the Workers' Compensation Board (the board) upholding the Douglas County School District's (Employer) denial of a Claimant's claim for compensation for medical services. Claimant argued before the board that the medical treatment, an aortobifemoral bypass procedure, was compensably related to a prior claim which had been accepted by the employer as a compensable injury. In 1999, Claimant suffered compensable injuries of a fractured femur and associated traumatic conditions when a stack of risers fell onto her leg while at work. At that time, Employer denied Claimant's claimed condition of "peripheral vascular disease" because Claimant suffered from preexisting condition of stenosis, which was determined by expert medical opinion to be the major contributing cause of the "peripheral vascular disease." Before the board, Claimant sought to include the aortobifemoral bypass procedure as a treatment compensably related to previously accepted traumatic conditions. The board found that, based on medical opinions, the major contributing cause of Claimant's need for the requested treatment was the preexisting stenosis, and therefore the treatment was not compensable, thus upholding Employer's denial of the claim. Claimant appealed to this Court, and argued that the medical procedure would treat multiple conditions, including the previously accepted traumatic conditions. Based on the substantial medical evidence in the record and substantial reasoning by the board, the Court disagreed with Claimant's argument, holding that, unless the major contributing cause of subsequent treatment is a previously accepted, compensable condition, medical treatment that serves to cure other conditions is not compensable under ORS 656.245(1)(a). Affirmed.

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