In re The Compensation of Reynolds, 020822 ORWC, 21-00318

Docket NºWCB 21-00318
Case DateFebruary 08, 2022
74 Van Natta 134 (2022)
In the Matter of the Compensation of JILL REYNOLDS, Claimant
WCB No. 21-00318
Oregon Worker Compensation
February 8, 2022
          Elmer & Brunot PC Law Offices, Claimant Attorneys           SAIF Legal, Defense Attorneys           Reviewing Panel: Members Ceja and Curey.          ORDER ON REVIEW          Claimant requests review of Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Somers's order that upheld the SAIF Corporation's denial of her injury claim for a back condition. On review, the issue is compensability.          We adopt and affirm the ALJ's order with the following supplementation.          The ALJ found that the record did not persuasively establish that claimant's injury claim was compensable. In reaching that conclusion, the ALJ found that the opinions of Dr. Cunningham (an orthopedic surgeon who reviewed claimant's medical records at SAIF's request) and Dr. Buehler (an orthopedic surgeon who examined claimant at SAIF's request) were more persuasive than the contrary opinion of Dr. Soldevilla, claimant's neurosurgeon. Accordingly, the ALJ upheld SAIF's denial.          On review, claimant contends that Dr. Soldevilla's opinion is more persuasive than those of Drs. Cunningham and Buehler. Based on the following reasoning, we disagree with claimant's contention.          To establish the compensability of her injury claim, claimant has the burden of proving that the work event was a material contributing cause of her disability or need for treatment. See ORS 656.005(7)(a); ORS 656.266(1); Albany Gen. Hosp. v. Gasperino, 113 Or App 411, 415 (1992). Because of the disagreement between the physicians regarding the cause of claimant's disability or need for treatment, this claim presents a complex medical question that must be resolved by expert medical opinion. See Barnett v. SAIF, 122 Or App 279, 28 (1993); Matthew C. Aufmuth, [62 Van Natta 1823], 1825 (2010). More weight is given to those medical opinions that are well reasoned and based on complete information. See Somers v. SAIF, 77 Or App 259, 263 (1986); Linda E. Patton, [60 Van Natta 579], 582 (2008). ...

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