SECOND INJURY CONSIDERED CONTINUATION OF OLD INJURY
Hokes Bluff Welding and Fabrication v. Cox --- So.2d ----, 2008 WL 4757149 (Ala.Civ.App. 2008):
On October 31, 2008, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals released this opinion in which it considered the affect of the statute of limitations on two accidents. The employee initially hurt his lower back in 2000 and then again in 2004. Since the plaintiff filed his lawsuit in 2005, the key issue was whether or not the applicable two year statute of limitations began to run in 2000 or in 2004. The employee argued that the 2004 accident amounted to an "aggravation" or "exacerbation" of a previous injury which would mean that it should be treated as a "new" injury under the Act. The employer argued that the alleged second injury was merely a "continuation" or a "recurrence" of the initial injury which would mean that there was no second injury and the statute of limitations would have expired in 2002. The evidence revealed that the employee suffered severe and unrelenting back pain from 2000 to 2004. The employee did not demonstrate new and different symptoms after the alleged second accident. Accordingly, the Court concluded that the statute of limitations began to run from the date of the first injury. Therefore, the judgment of the trial court was reversed and judgment in favor of the employer was entered.