Claim Allowed for Radiculopathy

Claim Allowed for Radiculopathy

Posted: October, 2002

Harmount v. Sanese Serv. (9/5/02), Franklin No. 01AP-1346, 2002-Ohio-4546.

Issue: Can a workers’ compensation be allowed for the medical condition of “radiculopathy” or is “radiculopathy” just a symptom?

Background: Harmount was injured at work and began to experience low back pain which went down into his right leg.

Harmount filed an application to have his claim allowed for the condition of radiculopathy. He appealed the administrative denial of his claim to the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

At trial, Harmount presented the testimony of his treating doctor who indicated that radiculopathy was a medical condition. The employer presented testimony of an examining doctor who indicated that radiculopathy was a symptom, not a separate medical condition.

A jury found Harmount entitled to participate in the workers’ compensation fund for “for aggravation of pre-existing right L5 radiculopathy.”

The employer filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, arguing that a workers’ compensation claim cannot be allowed for “radiculopathy” because radiculopathy is a symptom, not a medical condition. The trial Court denied the motion.

The employer appealed.

Decision: Court of Appeals affirms.

Medical evidence presented to the jury indicated that “radiculopathy” was a medical condition; there was also evidence presented to the jury that “radiculopathy” was a symptom.

Court notes that the issue of whether “radiculopathy” was a symptom or a condition was a disputed issue of material fact. As such, it was for the jury to determine. Because there was evidence to support the jury’s determination, the jury’s verdict should not be overturned.

Editor’s Comment: The Court distinguished this case from a previous decision by another Court of Appeals which had held that radiculopathy could not be allowed as a medical condition. The Court notes that unlike the present case, that case had not presented medical evidence that radiculopathy was a medical condition.

Information courtesy of the Ohio Workers’ Compensation Bulletin. Subscribe to the Ohio Workers’ Compensation Bulletin to keep informed about the Ohio workers’ compensation system.