Submitted: July 12, 2005
FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND
The claimant seeks additioanal medical and disability
benefits on account of an April 1, 1999 work-related injury
to his low back.
The claimant's 1999 low-back injury was a strain that
fully resolved by the summer of 1999. His back problems in
2000 and thereafter, including a bulging disk which impinged
on the S1 nerve root were more likely the result of new
injuries and were unrelated to his 1999 injury. He is
therefore not entitled to additional medical or disability
Causation: Medical Condition. An insurer is
liable only for medical conditions which are causally related
to a work-related injury.
Proof: Burden of Proof: Causation. The
claimant bears the burden of persuading the Court by a
preponderance of the evidence that his medical condition and
disability are causally related to his work-related injury.
Causation: Medical Condition. Where the
physician tendering an opinion on the relatedness of a
medical condition to a work-related injury is unable to
relate the condition to the injury and the medical evidence
further demonstrates that the work-related injury fully
resolved and that there were subsequent incidents associated
with his medical complaints, the Court finds that there is no
causal connection between the subsequent condition and the
The trial in this matter was held in Great Falls, Montana, on
July 12, 2005. The petitioner was present and represented by
Mr. Cameron Ferguson. The respondent was represented by Mr.
Oliver H. Goe.
Exhibits: Exhibits1 through 15 were admitted without
Witnesses and Depositions: The petitioner, Elizabeth
Ann Taylor, Lori Anderson, and Lea Marie Strom testified at
trial. The parties submitted depositions of the petitioner,
Gwen Carter, Lea Strom, and Lee Finney, M.D., to the Court
for its consideration.
Issues Presented: The Court restates the issues as
¶4a Whether the petitioner's low-back condition and
treatment after May 20, 1999, are related to his April 1,
1999 workers' compensation injury.
¶4b Whether the petitioner is entitled to additional
workers' compensation benefits with respect to his April
1, 1999 workers' compensation injury.
Having considered the Pretrial Order, the testimony presented
at trial, the demeanor and credibility of the witnesses, the
depositions and exhibits, and the ...