Dennis Cullen beats a Claim Petition alleging a Cervical Disc Herniation – January 2013

Recently a WCJ issued a Decision denying and dismissing a Claim Petition.  Claimant worked for a metals manufacture for many years.  He had an accepted low back injury and when he returned to work operating an overhead crane, he claimed to have “aggravated” a pre-existing cervical disc herniation.  The treating physician admitted that the disc was broad-based and equally symmetrical 360 degrees around, which is an indication of a degenerative condition not a work-related acute event.  Claimant’s treating physician opined that the basis for his opinion that the Claimant “aggravated” his cervical spine at work was due to the “temporal proximity” of the Claimant’s work activities and his subjective complaints. 

                 Mr. Cullen argued successfully to the WCJ that the Claimant’s treating physician’s opinions was legally incompetent because when the sole basis for the medical opinion of causation is the “temporal proximity” there is no scientific connection between the events and the subjective complaints.  The exposure avoided was significant considering that the injury dealt with the cervical spine.