Despite the informality of a workers compensation hearing, the evidence relied upon by the hearing official must be substantially credible in order to meet the burden of proof to assess disability. When the claimant has had a history of a multitude of back injuries, sorting out the claims maybe a complicated and difficult process. The compensation judge is compelled to ascertain which accident is the ultimate triggering incident that resulted in permanent disability.
The last back claim of a worker did not meet the evidential standards to sustain a claim for disability when the diagnostic tests, as interpreted by the treating physician, did not support the evidential requirements to establish the assessment of permanent disability.
A worker in New Jersey, who has a long history of back injuries, both at work and at home, was unable to meet the evidential requirements to to establish a case for increased disability. An MRI, interpreted by the treating physician, demonstrated no change in the injured workers medical condition following the last incident at work.
Accordingly, The NJ Appellate Division sustained the ruling by the compensation judge, who had held that proofs offered at trial were insufficient to meet the requirement of the statutory credible evidence standard. The trial judge was held to have correctly relied upon the treating physician’s diagnostic MRI taken subsequent to the last accident to rule out the final incident as the triggering episode that generated the claimant’s disability.
Beausejour v Chamberlin Plumbing & Heating, Inc., 2014 WL 300929 (N.J. Super. A.D.), Jan. 29, 2014