Proof: Causation

Gaudette v. Montana State Fund [03/19/13] 2013 MTWCC 7 Petitioner did not prove that her condition was causally related to her industrial injury where reports of her sensitivity to odors predated her industrial injury, no contemporary medical records supported her account of a reaction to an aerosol office cleaner, one medical provider opined that her reactions were actually anxiety attacks, an industrial hygienist found no contaminants in the workplace, and medical providers who supported Petitioner’s contentions offered no evidence in support of their opinions beyond Petitioner’s subjective reports.  Moreover, other medical experts opined that Petitioner’s condition had a psychological origin, and some of Petitioner’s symptoms could be readily explained as side effects of medications she took.  Petitioner further failed to follow treatment recommendations, refused to disclose part of her medical history to some providers, and refused to undergo a recommended diagnostic procedure. While some evidence supported Petitioner’s claim, it is significantly weaker than the evidence to the contrary.

Rach v. Montana State Fund [04/29/08] 2008 MTWCC 20 The Workers’ Compensation Act provides specific guidance on the element of causation when the alleged injury is a heart condition. Based on test results, Petitioner’s treating physician initially opined that the blunt force trauma Petitioner allegedly suffered at work caused a torn cord. However, she further stated that a more specific diagnostic test could conclusively diagnose the condition. When presented with test results which did not support her diagnosis, the treating physician concluded Petitioner did not suffer a torn cord and rescinded her opinion that his heart condition was caused by his employment. Therefore, Petitioner has no basis for his contention that his heart condition is work-related.
Foster v. Montana Schools Group [06/11/07] 2007 MTWC 18 Where the literature and testimony presented established that avascular necrosis secondary to a meniscectomy is a rare event, Petitioner's treating physician characterized the development of AVN post-arthroscopy as a "very low risk," and her AVN occurred in the lateral compartment of her knee, while the meniscectomy was of the medial meniscus, the Court concluded that Petitioner failed to prove on a more probable than not basis that the AVN was caused by her arthroscopy.
Vercos v. Workers' Compensation Risk Retention Program [6/30/04] 2004 MTWCC 53 To prevail in an occupational disease claim based on exposure to mold, the claimant must show that mold, which is ubiquitous, was present in the workplace at higher levels than other places the claimant frequents.
Vercos v. Workers' Compensation Risk Retention Program [6/30/04] 2004 MTWCC 53 To prevail in an occupational disease claim based on exposure to mold, the clamant must prove that her medical condition was in fact caused or aggravated by her exposure to mold in the workplace. Belief and speculation as to causation are not sufficient.

UEF v. Keith Grant [4/23/04] 2004 MTWCC 38 Where the sole evidence concerning causation is in the form of a written opinion of a physician, the opinion must be read in context. Where the opinion is focused on distinguishing between an injury and occupational disease, the physician's failure to use precise language regarding medical certainty or medical probability is not fatal to a reading of the opinion as finding causation.