- Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
- Area(s) of Law: Workers Compensation
- Date Filed: 10-07-2020
- Case #: A170673
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Egan, C.J. for the Court; DeVore, P.j.; & DeHoog, J.
- Full Text Opinion
Claimant appealed a board’s decision not to confer benefits in regard to a new impairment that materially originated by a work-related injury. On appeal, the Claimant asserted that the board erred when it failed to grant benefits for an impairment “attributable to preexisting conditions.” Claimant argued that, per Caren, the board erred because the “compensable work injury” was a “material contributing cause” and because the employer failed to follow statutory procedure as laid out in ORS 656.268(1)(b) to reduce the disability award. The employer answered that the case at hand was distinguished from Caren because this case does not concern apportionment. The Court agreed with the employer, but concluded that regardless, Caren provides guidance. Reasoning that “[i]n general, the workers’ compensation laws require specific written notice whenever an employer intends to deny compensation.” Caren v. Providence Health System Oregon, 365 Or 466, 484, 446 P3d 67 (2019). This notion is applicable to claims that do not blend “the work injury and the preexisting condition.” The Court held that an employer is entitled to an easing of impairment benefits regarding a preexisting condition if they “issue a preclosure denial of the condition giving rise to the impairment.” Where the employer failed to deny the Claimant’s condition, the board erred in determining that the Claimant was not entitled to compensation. Reversed and Remanded.