Research Notes

Contribution, not cause, is key in FECA cases

Contribution, not cause, is key in FECA casesOne of the remarkable features of the FECA system is the standard of qualification for benefits. To be entitled to coverage, an injured worker need only show that work duties contributed in some way to his or her injury, even if the injured worker had a pre-existing injury. For example, we had a client who had suffered a significant injury to his knee during military service. Our client then went to work for the US Postal Service for over a decade. During that time,  his knee condition became significantly worse. Even though he had problems with his knee well prior to his civilian service, his knee condition was covered 100% under FECA.

Under FECA, there is no apportionment. This means that if a factor of employment contributed even  .0001% to the development or current state of an injury, then it is completely covered under FECA. So, if a work duty constituted the straw that broke the camel’s back, it is irrelevant whether the camel’s back was badly damaged to begin with.

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