FILED APRIL 7, 2014

A contested case hearing, the hearing officer determined that the compensable injury extended to herniated/protruding discs in the lumbar spine at levels L4-5, L5-S1, L2-3, L3-4, lumbar spine stenosis, lumbar spine radiculopathy, and lumbar spine claudication.

The carrier appealed the hearing officer’s determination, contending that the hearing officer’s extent-of-injury determination was so against the great weight and preponderance of the evidence as to be clearly wrong and manifestly unjust. The claimant responded, urging affirmance of the hearing officer’s determination.

The claimant testified he injured his low back when he was stretched out in an awkward position for several hours while using a torch to cut sections out of a large metal plate.  The Appeals Panel reviewed the medical records and the “Letter of Causation/Letter of Clarification” submitted by the claimant’s physician.

 The Appeals Panel affirmed the hearing officer’s determination that the compensable injury extended to herniated/protruding discs in the lumbar spine at levels L4-5, L5-S1, and L3-4, lumbar spine stenosis, and lumbar spine claudication.  However, the Appeals Panel determined that none of the medical records causally linked a herniated/protruding disc in the lumbar spine at level L2-3 and lumbar spine radiculopathy to the compensable injury.

The hearing officer’s determination was reversed on the compensable injury extending to a herniated/protruding disc in the lumbar spine at level L2-3 and lumbar spine radiculopathy, and the Appeals Panel rendered a new decision that the compensable injury does not extend to a herniated/protruding disc in the lumbar spine at level L2-3 and lumbar spine radiculopathy.

Source: 140266