One of the most impactful parts of the legislation passed in 2006 was the change from permitting aggravation of any magnitude to requiring a “substantial aggravation.” Tied in with the defining of substantial aggravation in the new law were provisions regarding a return to baseline. The return to baseline provisions provide that if a preexisting condition that was substantially aggravated returns to the level it was prior to the aggravation, the claim can abate. Interestingly, unlike with the provisions regarding substantial aggravation itself, the legislature included the return to baseline language with almost no direct definitions.
Now that nearly seven years have passed since these legislative changes became law, motions for return to baseline are beginning to pop up. While they do not appear to be overwhelmingly common, their mere existence makes it important to further examine what the precise meaning of return to baseline is. Fortunately, while the statute lacks a direct definition of the requirements for finding a return to baseline, it does provide other language which clearly demonstrates what should be required to find a return to baseline. As the following will demonstrate, as with substantial aggravation itself, proof of return to baseline should require objective evidence. [Read more…]