Proof: Burden of Proof: Preponderance


Ford v. Sentry Casualty Company, 2012 MT 156 Although the Legislature incorporated a “more probable than not” standard into § 39-71-407, MCA, the courts cannot control how doctors phrase their opinions and testimony on those issues.  The probative force of a doctor’s opinion is not to be defeated by semantics if it is reasonably apparent that the doctor intends to signify a probability supported by some rational basis.


Poindexter v. Montana State Fund [11/19/10] 2010 MTWCC 31 Petitioner did not meet his burden of proof where his case hinged on the content of an unwitnessed conversation with his employer in which Petitioner alleged his employer did not make modified work available to him. Petitioner alleged he made a follow-up call to his employer, but could not prove the call occurred; other witnesses testified that the employer always made modified work available; and Petitioner had other reasons for not accepting modified employment. The only evidence supporting Petitioner’s version of events is his word, and that is insufficient to overcome the evidence presented to the contrary.

Distad v. Montana State Fund [03/20/09] 2009 MTWCC 11 Petitioner did not meet his burden of proving that his back condition was caused or aggravated by his industrial accident where the only evidence presented to the Court in support of his contention consists of a scant few mentions of back pain in post-accident medical records; incomplete medical records; and an IME report where the physician opined that the back condition was not caused or aggravated by the industrial accident.
Iron v. Montana State Fund [04/10/08] 2008 MTWCC 15 While it is possible that Petitioner’s industrial accident (being struck in the head by a metal lid) may have caused his cervical condition or made it symptomatic, in light of Petitioner’s openly contradictory accounts of pivotal events in his claim, his unreliable testimony, and his examining doctors’ pseudo-neurologic findings and lack of objective medical findings, the Court concludes Petitioner has not met his burden of proving that it is probable that the accident caused the injury he claims.
Vallance v. MCCF [07/05/06] 2006 MTWCC 26 Petitioner has not met his burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that he suffers from an occupational disease where his doctors were not provided with a sufficient history of his back problems, and where these doctors, upon learning of additional injuries and symptoms recorded in Petitioner’s medical records, could no longer assert that Petitioner’s back problems were more probably than not caused by an occupational disease.
Oswald v. Horizon CMS Healthcare Corp. [3/10/03] 2003 MTWCC 19 Claimant must not prove with certainty that her condition was caused by a work-related incident or eliminate all other possible causes, she need only prove that a work-related incident is more likely than not the cause of her condition.
Walker v. Great West Casualty [1/25/02] 2002 MTWCC 4 Where the claimant (1) failed to present medical opinions relating his low-back condition to his industrial accident, (2) had a long history of chronic low-back pain antedating his industrial accident, (3) had related his low-back pain to wounds suffered in Vietnam when applying for VA benefits, and (4) had not mentioned low back pain when seeking treatment for his industrial accident, the Court finds that he failed to prove by a preponderance that he either injured or aggravated his low back in the industrial accident.