Court Reverses Board Decision Establishing Claim, Citing Insufficient Medical Evidence
On 9/3/20, the Appellate Division, Third Department decided Johnson v. Borg Warner, Inc. This decision reaffirms the principle that medical evidence which is speculative or contains statements of mere possibility on causal relationship is not sufficient to establish a claim. In this case, the claimant's treating physician testified that there was "a strong possibility” claimant had an acute or chronic meniscus tear and it was "very reasonable that something could have happened at work that exacerbated a chronic condition." The doctor also stated it was "highly possible" that the injury was causally related to the claimant's work. The Board established the claimant's case based on this testimony, but the Appellate Division reversed, holding that the doctor's testimony amounted to mere statements of possibility. In a nutshell, medical evidence must signify that a claimant's injury, more probably than not, is causally related to their work activities.
This decision serves as a reminder that medical evidence must meet this minimum standard before a claim can be established.