Employees that suffer injuries while working are often able to recover workers’ compensation medical benefits from their employers. However, in some instances, while an employer may not dispute that an employee suffered a work-related injury, it may nonetheless argue that the treatment the employee seeks is not reasonable or necessary. In such cases, the courts will typically resolve the dispute based on which party’s medical expert offers more compelling testimony, as demonstrated in a recent New Jersey case in which the employer argued its employee’s prescription was not compensable. If you were hurt at work, and your employer denied you workers’ compensation benefits for the treatment of your injuries, you should consult a skilled New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney to assess your rights.
Facts and Case History
Reportedly, the plaintiff suffered a back injury in a car accident in 2011, when he was working for the defendant. He subsequently filed a workers’ compensation claim and, in 2014, received a fifteen percent partial disability award for the injury to his lower back and aggravation of a pre-existing injury. He then filed a motion to compel the defendant to pay for his opioid painkiller prescription. The defendant opposed the motion, and a hearing was held during which the plaintiff’s treating physician and the defendant’s medical expert testified.
Allegedly, the plaintiff’s doctor testified that the plaintiff would never heal through the use of pain medication and that the only treatment that would address his symptoms was surgery. The defendant’s expert testified, though, it was reasonable for the plaintiff to be on opioid medication for long-term management of his pain. The court found in favor of the defendant, and the plaintiff appealed, arguing the court improperly granted greater weight to the testimony of his treating doctor. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling. Continue Reading ›