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Special Interest Jennifer Pickett “Last Injurious Exposure Rule:” ORF vs. NAS I know, as I write this, I can just see you sitting at your desk mumbling, “What the . . .?” Stay with me, it will become clear momentarily. Th is one method for sorting is out a somewhat confusing aspect of Alabama’s workers’ compensation law. What do you do when an employee has multiple injuries involving either multiple employers and/or multiple insurers? You apply the “last injurious exposure rule;” however, that is easier said than done. Case law has explained the rule as follows: Under the “last injurious disability. If the second injury exposure rule,” liability falls is characterized as a recurrence upon the carrier covering of the fi injury, then the rst the risk at the time of the fi insurer is responsible for most recent injury bearing a the medical bills; however, causal relation to the disability. if the injury is considered Th trial court must determine an aggravation of the whether the second injury is a new fi injury, then it is considered a new injury and the injury, an aggravation of a prior employer at the time of the aggravating injury is liable for the injury, or a recurrence of an old medical bills and disability payments.1 injury; this determination resolves In an eff to try to simplify the above, I have broken down ort the issue of which insurer is liable. the two categories as follows: A court fi a recurrence nds OLD - RECURRENCE - FIRST vs. when the second injury does not contribute even slightly to NEW - AGGRAVATION - SECOND the causation of the disability. In other words, when an Old injury produces Recurring symp- Th group also includes toms, the employer at the time of the First injury is responsible; the kind of case in which however, when a New injury Aggravates and causes fi disability, nal a worker has suff a back the Second employer/insurer is responsible. Medical testimony is ered strain, followed by a period of critical in this analysis. Th following are some fairly recent cases e work with continuing symptoms in Alabama that provide a framework by which you can develop indicating that the original condition your specifi set of facts. c persists, and culminating in a second RECURRENCE period of disability precipitated by some lift or exertion. A court fi an aggravation of an In United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company v. Stepp, the nds injury when the second injury contributed independently to the fi plaintiff injured his back while working for Beech Gap and, af- nal 24 Birmingham Bar Association


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