Anderson v. North Dakota Workers Comp. Bureau – Case Brief Summary (North Dakota)

In Anderson v. North Dakota Workers Comp. Bureau, 553 N.W.2d 496, 498 (N.D. 1996), the claimant was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome in 1984. Id. at 497. Her condition worsened in 1994, necessitating surgery. Id. at 498.

Soon thereafter, she filed a claim for benefits, but the Bureau dismissed the claim because it concluded Anderson was aware of her condition as early as 1984. Id.

The Court stated:

"The fact Anderson sought medical attention in 1984 does not establish she then knew or should have known she had a compensable work injury. . . . The records prepared by Dr. Hennenfent and Dr. Swanson do not report they advised Anderson about the significance of her condition. Anderson testified she never even saw the records. A claimant is not charged with knowledge of opinions and conclusions in medical records she has not reviewed." Id. at 499.

Anderson testified that although she felt symptoms at work, she did not know the cause of her injury, and we explained a person who experiences pain and other symptoms while working does not have reason to know of a significant work-related injury. Id. at 500.

Without any medical advice, we concluded the seriousness of Anderson's condition was not apparent in 1984, and therefore, she did not reasonably know she had a compensable work injury. Id.