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State comp board must reconsider custodian’s injury claims

shoulder injury

An appellate court reversed and remanded an Oregon Workers Compensation Board decision denying workers compensation to a custodian who said he re-injured his shoulder after a day of lifting at work.

In a unanimous decision Wednesday in the case, In the Matter of Carrillo v. SAIF Corp., the Oregon Court of Appeals held that the board failed to properly consider the alleged lifting injury and preexisting symptoms as a “combined condition.”

Mario Carrillo filed a workers comp claim for an injury to his left shoulder after a day of heaving lifting at work. Salem, Oregon-based State Accident Insurance Fund Corp. denied the claim on the basis that the work injury, combined with preexisting conditions, was not the major contributing cause of his shoulder pain.

The workers compensation board agreed with SAIF, holding that Mr. Carrillo did have a preexisting condition in his left shoulder that was supported by substantial evidence.

The appellate court reversed the decision, saying the board had not explicitly resolved the issue as to whether Mr. Carrillo experienced a new injury on the day of heavy lifting or whether the lifting was a contributing cause of his disability that led to the need for treatment for the preexisting shoulder injury.

The appellate court noted that in the Oregon Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Brown v. SAIF the term “combined condition” suggests two separate conditions that combine and that the board erred in failing to consider whether Mr. Carrillo’s “symptomatic flareup is compensable as a worsening of his preexisting condition.”