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  1. #1
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    Jul 2010
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    Default Degenerative Disc Disease

    The NCIC clearly states that the condition is covered. Yet there are cases that are denied due to "no industrial accident".

    And at the same time the NCIC claims there are no discrepancies for back related injuries (no industrial accident needed) and that goes for hernias as well.

    You can also exacerbate the condition simply riding in a company vehicle, tying your shoes, lifting a 10 pound box, sitting in an office swivel chair.

    Yet they deny based on "no industrial accident".

    So which is it?

    They also give extended time frames for back injuries and hernias (an additional 30 days) yet require notice of injury to the ER within 30 days. How many have missed that mark?

    Also, once you have injured your back it may not be so easy to tell whether or not it was on going or happened yesterday, even with MRI.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Degenerative Disc Disease

    DDD is not a work injury in and of itself...your work doesn't cause the DDD.

    Aggreviation to a prior injury, or pre existing condition...DDD would be pre existing, would be covered, or a compensable consequence to a org injury ie. CT/Cumulative Trauma, or specific onset/accident.
    Yet they deny based on "no industrial accident".
    You have a Dr saying 'yes', to industrial causation...AOE/COE, they have a Dr saying the opposite. You litigate the dispute and a judge decides.
    They also give extended time frames for back injuries and hernias (an additional 30 days) yet require notice of injury to the ER within 30 days. How many have missed that mark?

    Also, once you have injured your back it may not be so easy to tell whether or not it was on going or happened yesterday, even with MRI.
    30 days from knowledge of injury or causation. There is also a SOL for filing a claim for WC benefits, even after termination.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Degenerative Disc Disease

    Agreed. Although I have no idea how a doctor could possibly say whether or not to industrial causation unless they were a wittness. It would be speculatory, wouldn't it?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Degenerative Disc Disease

    Although I have no idea how a doctor could possibly say whether or not to industrial causation unless they were a wittness.
    To "DDD"...?
    DDD is an underlying condition...about 80% of the working population suffers from this... and it's due to the aging process.
    specific onset injury can be aggreviation to DDD... CT can aggreviate DDD... DDD is 'just there". But the NC law says it's covered, that's different than trying to prove relationship to the injury. Kinda like being "presumed"...

    DDD can be diagnosed through various tests...including MRI, x-ray... c-scan. Whether or not the injury or CT is 'industrial causation' depends on the evidence you present to the Dr, ie. job description, length of time on a job, any number of factors. But DR's make the decision...not the CA or ER or IW for that matter.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Degenerative Disc Disease

    Back injuries (and hernias) are covered under NC work comp if the injury occurs as the result of an "accident" in the workplace, or as the result of a "Specific traumatic incident" of the work assigned. So the standard of proof is somewhat lower for a back injury or hernia than it is for any other injury.

    Degenerative Disc Disease ("DDD") is a pre-existing condition that most of us have developed by the time we are 35 or 40 and it can be accelerated, aggravated, or exacerbated by an injury by accident or a specific traumatic incident at work. We frequently handle cases successfully for people who have some degree of DDD and then have an incident at work that makes it worse.

    A typical scenario is someone with DDD will pick up a heavy box, and they feel something happen in their lower back. This can cause an onset of new pain and new symptoms. This is the specific traumatic incident scenario. This can also happen in the cervical spine (neck).

    The MRI will then show a disc injury that is the result of DDD combined with the incident at work. If the doctor testifies that the incident at work "more likely than not aggravated, accelerated or exacerbated" the DDD, then we can get the new problems covered under NC work comp law (as it currently exists) and furthermore, the entire resulting disability from the injury is covered unless the doctor can specifically allocate or "apportion" how much is due to the incident. The situation may require surgery to remove the disc material and/or decompress the spine.
    Last edited by complwyr; 05-09-2011 at 10:19 AM.
    The North Carolina Court of Appeals has held that "In contested Workers' Compensation cases today, access to competent legal counsel is a virtual necessity." Church v. Baxter Travenol Labs, Inc., and American Motorists Insurance Company, 104 N.C. App. 411, 416 (1991).

    Bob Bollinger, Attorney at Law

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Degenerative Disc Disease

    That's as I understand it as well. Didn't the FC make a ruling in the IW's favor. Chamber's vs. Transit (Establishing a specific traumatic incident does not require the employee to prove that the incident is isolatable to a specific hour or even day. The main issue is whether there was a specific injury versus a gradual deterioration of the
    employee's back condition.) And another case (sorry, no link/info) that the FC said that the mere "nature" of the employee's job duties (ie. constant lifting, bending over, etc..) was sufficient to aggravate/exacerbate his condition and the FC ruled in his favor.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Degenerative Disc Disease

    Mozart, that is basically an accurate statement of the "specific traumatic incident" rule. It has to occur at a "judicially cognizable time" under a case called Fish v. Steelcase.
    The North Carolina Court of Appeals has held that "In contested Workers' Compensation cases today, access to competent legal counsel is a virtual necessity." Church v. Baxter Travenol Labs, Inc., and American Motorists Insurance Company, 104 N.C. App. 411, 416 (1991).

    Bob Bollinger, Attorney at Law

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    227

    Default Re: Degenerative Disc Disease

    Thanx for reply Bob.

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