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SAIF v. Hanscram

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 11-02-2011
Case #: A144869
Nakamoto, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & Rosenblum, S.J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A144869.pdf

Workers Compensation: The "date of injury" occurs on the date when a claimant becomes disabled or seeks treatment for a compensable condition. A condition becomes compensable when the claimant's work is the major contributing cause of the injury.

Appellant SAIF saught review of the Worker's Compensation Board determining a "date of injury" for Hanscram's occupational disease claim. Hanscram's work involved physical labor and strain on his knees. While working in Washington and prior to his employment in Oregon, Hanscram underwent surgery on both knees. In 2000, he started working at a company insured by SAIF, loading and unloading furniture and appliances. By October 2005, Hanscram saw an orthopedic surgeon that recommended total knee replacement surgery. Upon the doctor's recommendation, he filed a workers' compensation claim on that date. After SAIF initially declined the claim, the Board overturned the decision, relying on evidence that his condition deteriorated as a result of his work. SAIF then filed a closure notice with a date of February 29, 1988. Hanscram sought review of the date and the board set it to October 2005. SAIF argued to the Court of Appeals that the date the injury became compensable was when it was first treated in 1988. The Court determined that an occupational disease became compensable when the claimant's work was a major contributing cause to the condition. Affirmed.