Claimants: Pre-existing Condition

Satterlee v. Lumbermen's Mutual Casualty Co., 280 Mont. 85, 929 P.2d 212 (1996) An employer takes its employee as it finds her and if her disability is aggravated by an underlying physical or emotional condition, that employer is liable for disability which results from that aggravation.
Satterlee v. Lumbermen's Mutual Casualty Co., 280 Mont. 85, 929 P.2d 212 (1996) Substantial evidence did not support WCC finding that claimant's disabling depression and post-traumatic stress disorder arose after work-injury and were not compensable.
Larson v. Cigna Ins. Co., 276 Mont. 283, 915 P.2d 108 (1996) (Larson II) An employer/insurer takes an employee subject to the employee’s physical condition at the time of employment. Thus, in assessing permanent total disability status, the Court must consider all of claimant’s conditions when assessing his employability.
Weisgerber v. American Home Assurance Company [02/14/05] 2005 MTWCC 8 The employer and its insurer take the claimant as they find her, with all of her preexisting conditions and disabilities. Thus, in determining whether a claimant is permanently totally disabled, the claimant’s medical conditions and disabilities existing at the time of her injury or occupational disease must be taken into account in determining whether she is employable.
Erickson v. Champion International [3/12/96] 1996 MTWCC WCC reversed and remanded DOL decision that claimant did not suffer from an occupational disease where the decision rested on the opinion of a doctor who applied an incorrect understanding of the law. The doctor opined that claimant's knee condition was not an occupational disease because not all mill workers develop similar knee conditions, ignoring the settled principle that an employer takes a worker as it finds him, making the fact that non-susceptible or non-predisposed workers would not be affected by working conditions irrelevant to a determination whether an occupational disease exists in a particular worker.
Erickson v. Champion International [3/12/96] 1996 MTWCC The fact that claimant's underlying condition would ultimately have been totally disabling due to a natural progression of an underlying condition does not preclude compensation where the disability was hastened by a work-related injury or conditions.
Ostwald v. Plum Creek Manufacturing [12/19/95] 1995 MTWCC 107 Belton is an exception to the more general rule that the employer and insurer take the worker as they find him and has not been extended to situations where no prior claim has been filed or where no insurer is already liable for the existing condition.