Does the Hindrance to Recovery Doctrine survive the Major Contributing Cause?
Based on the recent case of Brevard County School Board v. Acosta, it appears that the Hindrance to Recovery Doctrine is not affected by the Major Contributing Cause standard. In this case, the claimant needed both a surgery to the right shoulder which was work related and a surgery to the left shoulder which was not work related. The JCC found that the left shoulder condition was compensable because the treating physician opined that the surgical repair of the left shoulder (non-work related) was medically necessary to further avoid injury to the left shoulder during the later anticipated surgery and recovery period for the right shoulder injury. The First District Court of Appeal reversed and determined that the relevant question was why was the left shoulder surgery medically necessary? According to the Court, unless the purpose was to remove a hindrance to treating the compensable condition, the right shoulder, the doctrine did not apply. Neither the Court nor the parties appeared to have raised the major contributing cause defense. The opinion suggests that the Hindrance to Recovery applies instead of the MCC in these type of cases. Note that the opinion was filed on June 9, 2014 and is not yet final.