Spurger v. SAIF

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Workers Compensation
  • Date Filed: 10-08-2014
  • Case #: A150351
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Egan, J. for the Court; Armstrong P.J.; & Nakamoto J.

Under OAR 436-035-0019 a worker is entitled to chronic condition impairment value if the worker is "significantly limited" in the repetitive use of certain body parts.

Spurger appealed the Workers' Compensation Board's compensation denial of her claim for "chronic condition impairment". Spurger injured her hip at work, among other things. Her doctor determined that she had some, but not significant, limitations to her hip. Her attending physician, because there was no clear definition of "significant", was unable to comment on the matter. At no time did the board or doctors come up with a clear definition of "significant". Spurger's employer denied the "chronic condition impairment" claim and an Administrative Law Judge affirmed the denial stating that without further explanation, it could not be inferred that claimant's limitations amounted to a "significant limitation". Spurger appealed to the Workers' Compensation Board (the board), which affirmed the denial stating that Dr. Wong checked a box choosing 'some limitation' and Dr. Tran concurred. The Court noted that a chronic condition is an "either/or" determination; a claimant's repetitive use is either 'significantly limited' or not. The Court held the board erred in failing to provide an adequate explanation of what it considered "significantly limited" to mean. The Court remanded the decision to the board to correct that deficiency. Reversed and remanded.

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