Proof: Burden of Proof: Causation

Haines v. Montana University System Self-Funded Workers' Compensation Program [06/09/15] 2015 MTWCC 9 Petitioner initially contended that a chlorine gas exposure at work caused him to develop peripheral neuropathy.  He later argued that his peripheral neuropathy was an occupational disease due to chemical exposure in his workplace.  The Court was unpersuaded by Petitioner’s argument that Respondent’s IME panel inadequately investigated his claim by focusing only on Petitioner’s chlorine gas exposure; Petitioner changed his theory only shortly before trial, and the burden of proof lay with him, not Respondent.

Boland v. Montana State Fund [03/21/14] 2014 MTWCC 8 After reviewing Petitioner’s treating physician’s medical records, the Court found that the physician did not have full knowledge of the facts regarding Petitioner’s subsequent employment, a non-work-related fall, and chiropractic treatment.  The Court further found that an IME physician believed that Petitioner’s subsequent employment lasted for six weeks when it actually lasted for several months, and that the IME physician made no objective medical findings.  The Court therefore concluded that Petitioner did not meet his burden of proving that this particular employment was the major contributing cause of his back condition, and therefore he did not prove that he suffers from an occupational disease under the statute.

Russell v. Watkins & Shepard [07/11/08] 2008 MTWCC 36 Although the treating physician concluded that Petitioner’s symptoms must have been caused by carbon monoxide poisoning because treatment alleviated the symptoms, the condition may have pre-dated Petitioner’s carbon monoxide exposure, and there is no proof the symptoms are causally related to the exposure.
Strom v. Montana Municipal Ins. Authority [07/22/05] 2005 MTWCC 42 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.