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Workers’ Compensation – Medical Evidence – Equivocal Testimony – Back Injury

Workers’ Compensation – Medical Evidence – Equivocal Testimony – Back Injury

Ferguson v. Richard Childress Racing Enterprises (Lawyers Weekly No. 13-16-0808, 23 pp.) (Robert N. Hunter Jr., J.) Appealed from the Industrial Commission. N.C. App. Unpub.

Holding: Where plaintiff’s doctors did not fully understand his medical history and could not speak conclusively to causation, the Industrial Commission did not err in determining that the medical testimony was merely “speculation and conjecture.”

We affirm the Commission’s denial of benefits for plaintiff’s back condition.

After his on-the-job accident, plaintiff continued working. Although he went to the doctor the next day, medical records indicate that he complained only of knee pain. Plaintiff continued to work out in the defendant-employer’s gym, and he only mentioned knee pain – not back pain – to defendant’s athletic trainer. Plaintiff never notified defendant of his back injury while he worked for defendant. He did not receive medical attention for his lower back until six months after the accident. Additionally, the Commission assigned little weight to plaintiff’s experts’ testimony.

Competent evidence thus supports the Commission’s finding of fact 21: “Based upon the preponderance of the competent, credible evidence of record, the Full Commission finds that plaintiff has failed to prove that his low back complaints are causally related to the injury he sustained at work on June 28, 2009.”



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