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Strom v. Montana Municipal Insurance Authority

Court of Workers Compensation of Montana

July 22, 2005

JOHN STROM Petitioner
v.
MONTANA MUNICIPAL INSURANCE AUTHORITY Respondent/Insurer.

          Submitted: July 12, 2005

          FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND JUDGMENT

          MIKE MCCARTER, JUDGE

         Summary: The claimant seeks additioanal medical and disability benefits on account of an April 1, 1999 work-related injury to his low back.

         Held: 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 benefits.

         Topics:

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 work-related injury.

         ¶1 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.

         ¶2 Exhibits: Exhibits1 through 15 were admitted without objection.

         ¶3 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.

         ¶4 Issues Presented: The Court restates the issues as follows:

¶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.

         ¶5 Having considered the Pretrial Order, the testimony presented at trial, the demeanor and credibility of the witnesses, the depositions and exhibits, and the ...


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