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Wingfield v. Hill Brothers Transportation, Inc.

Supreme Court of Nebraska

May 16, 2014

GEORGE WINGFIELD, APPELLANT,
v.
HILL BROTHERS TRANSPORTATION, INC., APPELLEE

Page 618

Appeal from the Workers' Compensation Court: JOHN R. HOFFERT, Judge.

AFFIRMED.

Stacy L. Morris, of Lamson, Dugan & Murray, L.L.P., for appellant.

Caroline M. Westerhold, of Baylor, Evnen, Curtiss, Grimit & Witt, L.L.P., for appellee.

HEAVICAN, C.J., WRIGHT, CONNOLLY, STEPHAN, MCCORMACK, MILLER-LERMAN, and CASSEL, JJ.

OPINION

Page 619

[288 Neb. 175] Cassel, J.

INTRODUCTION

This case requires us to decide whether the causation standard applicable to workers'

Page 620

compensation claims involving injury from heart attack was properly extended to an episode of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. In heart attack cases, a claimant is required to prove both legal and medical causation. The compensation court applied this split test of causation and dismissed for failure to establish the medical cause prong. The split test arises from the difficulties in attributing the cause of a heart attack to the claimant's work. Because deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism present these same difficulties and are similar in origin to a heart attack, we conclude that the split test was properly applied to the claimant's injuries in this case.

BACKGROUND

George Wingfield appeals from the dismissal of his claim for workers' compensation benefits. Wingfield filed a workers' compensation claim on January 30, 2012, alleging that he sustained personal injuries in the form of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism in an accident that occurred on February 26, 2010. In his petition, he alleged that his injuries arose out of the course and scope of his ...


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