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Man whose work injury not major cause of disability ruled eligible for comp


An Oregon man is entitled to workers compensation benefits, even though his injury is no longer the major contributing cause of his combined condition, the Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled.

Cobey Goodman, who had a preexisting injury to his right wrist, arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome, in May 2012 injured his right wrist and thumb while working at Treasure Valley Coffee Inc. in Bend, Oregon, court records show.

Oregon's state-chartered workers compensation insurer, State Accident Insurance Fund Corp., or SAIF, accepted Mr. Goodman's workers compensation claim for a contusion and acute ligament strain, as well as his combined condition claim for a “right wrist injury combined with prior right wrist scaphoid nonunion fracture and post traumatic arthritis,” according to records.

However, SAIF denied his combined condition claim in October 2012, saying the accepted injury was “no longer the major contributing cause of Mr. Goodman's disability,” records show.

Mr. Goodman sought review of SAIF's decision, according to records. An administrative law judge with Oregon's Workers' Compensation Board concluded there wasn't enough evidence to prove the “compensable injury ceased to be the major contributing cause of (Mr. Goodman's) need for treatment of the combined condition,” records show.

SAIF challenged the judge's order, and the Workers' Compensation Board reversed the ruling, according to records.

On Wednesday, the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case, ruling that the Workers' Compensation Board only considered whether Mr. Goodman's accepted condition remained the major contributing cause of the combined condition.

According to the appellate court's ruling, “This case must be remanded to the board for it to consider whether Mr. Goodman's 'work-related injury incident' — as distinguished from (his) accepted conditions — continues to be 'the major contributing cause of the combined condition.' ”

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