Recent cases – SA Workers Compensation

s43(7) – Lump sum compensation (aggravation …)

WCT43/14 Baker (W suffered a right ankle ligament strain at work in 2007 and it was determined in 2008 he had a permanent impairment of 10% – he had a slightly increased vulnerability to further injury as a result – in 2011 he “slipped at work … [and] suffered a ‘right ankle strain/partial tear of lateral ligaments’” @3 – “aggravation may mean ‘an increase in gravity or seriousness.’ Acceleration relates to the progress of a disease itself, and is thus not applicable to the present circumstances of acute traumatic injury. Exacerbation has a similar meaning to aggravation in the sense of requiring some worsening of gravity or seriousness. Deterioration connotes a progressive worsening of an ongoing condition. Recurrence means that a prior injury has happened again or recurred” (footnotes omitted) @27 – in applying the s43(7)(a) test the “lack of any ongoing functional impairment and of symptoms for over two years prior to the second injury, is … a relevant, but not determinative, factual circumstance to be taken into account” @31 – “the word ‘injury’ in s 43(7)(a) is not used only in the sense of functional or symptomatic injury, but includes all ongoing tissue damage or pathology” @31 –  deterioration, exacerbation, recurrence and acceleration excluded on facts – “both work injuries probably involved partial tears of the same ligaments but to different degrees of severity, despite their different classifications as a strain or partial tear; and … both 2007 injuries were additive contributors to the 2011 injury” @42 – “the second work injury did consist of an increase in the gravity or severity of the structurally compromised and susceptible right ankle lateral ligaments, which in turn resulted from both the 2007 injuries” @43 – the 2011 injury constituted an aggravation of the 2007 compensable injury” @41)