Division III: Doctors Allowed to Speculate re: Pre-Accident Pain
Zavala screwed up her knee at work. When they did the surgical correction, they also discovered arthritis. Her knee had no pain before, so arthritis was not a cause of any pain to her. After the claim was closed, she started having pain again. This case arises from her trying to reopen her claim.
Now, there is a doctrine in the law that if something wasn’t causing you pain, that it can’t be considered a cause of your pain. This generally comes up in pre-existing arthritis. All of us have some degree of arthritic changes in the body once we pass eighteen years of age. But not all of it causes pain. You can have a lot of degeneration and none of it be painful.
The doc essentially said that based on his findings, she must have been having pain, despite no actual testimony that she was having any knee pain. Essentially speculating as to whether she actually suffered pain.
So essentially here, the court of appeals is allowing doctors to speculate whether a condition was painful and then use that to say that it was a cause of the prior injury.
I am not okay with this opinion. While it is an L&I case, it is a major revision of the causation chain, and allows hired guns to enter speculative testimony without any actual evidence of prior pain.
The Personal Injury Attorneys at Issaquah Legal Services are familiar with common defense tactics and the blame game that comes when you are injured in an accident. Please contact us and let us help shepherd you through the process.