Sather v. SAIF

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Workers Compensation
  • Date Filed: 07-08-2015
  • Case #: A149547
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Armstrong, P.J.; Hadlock, J.; & Egan, J. Per Curiam.
  • Full Text Opinion

The Workers' Compensation Board must determine whether an otherwise compensable injury, not the accepted conditions, has ceased to be the major contributing cause of the worker's disability or need for treatment for an accepted combined condition.

SAIF accepted a claim for a lumbar strain, and then a claim for a combined condition, which it subsequently denied because the accepted lumbar strain had ceased to be the major contributing cause of the combined condition. Claimant challenged the denial and the Workers' Compensation Board (the Board) upheld. Claimant sought judicial review of the Board's order, arguing the Board had made the wrong inquiry when it considered whether the accepted lumbar strain continued to be the major contributing cause of his disability or need for treatment of his combined condition rather than the proper inquiry of whether the otherwise compensable injury continued to the the major contributing cause of disability or need for treatment of the combined condition. Following his petition for review, Claimant passed away due to unrelated causes. SAIF moved to dismiss, but the personal representative (Representative) for Claimant's estate moved to be substituted. The Court denied Representative's motion and dismissed Claimant's petition, but the Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding Claimant's estate was entitled to pursue Claimant's claim. The Court granted Representatives motion for substitution and held the Board's proper inquiry was whether the otherwise compensable injury, not the accepted conditions, has ceased to be the major contributing cause of the worker's disability or need for treatment of the accepted combined condition. Reversed and remanded.

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