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Necessary for Employers to Rebut Potential Causations in Workers’ Compensation Matters

August 5, 2020

In the case of Phillip Battle v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Intervenor, the D.C. Court of Appeals considered whether an employer had rebutted the claim of a workplace injury by the worker’s compensation claimant.  Under the D.C. Worker’s Compensation Act, if one theory of employment causation has the potential to result in or contribute to the disability suffered, the presumption is that the disability is compensable under worker’s compensation. In this case, Plaintiff’s expert opined that the repetitive motions of driving a bus (as the Plaintiff did) could be a cause of disc degeneration generally.  However, the expert did not specifically state that this Plaintiff’s disc degeneration was caused by driving a bus.  The employer’s expert stated specifically that Plaintiff’s condition was not from an on the job incident, but instead related to Plaintiff’s degenerative condition.  The employer’s expert did not specifically address the issue on repetitive motions.  Under D.C. Law, if the employer fails to address and rebut that theory with substantial evidence, the presumption of compensability stands.  Accordingly, the Court of Appeals held that compensability stands, and remanded for further proceedings.