Articles Posted in Medical Treatment

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 ›

In many instances in which an employee suffers an injury at work, the employer will argue that the harm was not work-related. Thus, the employee must file a petition seeking workers’ compensation benefits, and the court will weigh the evidence produced by each party to determine if the employee’s claim is valid. Only certain evidence will be considered, however, and an employer that fails to introduce valid evidence may ultimately lose the right to object to the employee’s claims, as discussed in a recent New Jersey workers’ compensation case. If you were hurt at work and your employer is disputing that you are owed benefits, it is in your best interest to speak to a trusted New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney regarding your claims.

History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff, who worked as a laborer for the defendant, suffered injuries during the course of his employment. Specifically, he hurt his back, shoulder, and neck while lifting heavy logs. He then filed a petition seeking workers’ compensation benefits. The defendant filed an answer past the deadline, arguing that the plaintiff’s injuries were not work-related. The plaintiff then filed a motion for medical and temporary disability benefits (MMT). In support of the MMT, the plaintiff provided an affidavit of his attorney that set forth the facts regarding the plaintiff’s injury and treatment and stated the plaintiff’s physician recommended that he undergo surgery.

Allegedly, the defendant refused to authorize the surgery. As such, the plaintiff asked the court to compel the defendant to provide treatment by a certain date. The defendant did not reply to the MMT until the day before the hearing and did not provide an affidavit in support of its position. Thus, the court considered the MMT as unopposed and granted it, after which the defendant appealed. Continue Reading ›

Employees that suffer work-related injuries may be entitled to certain workers’ compensation benefits, including medical treatment. Specifically, New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation Law (the Law) provides that employers must provide employees with any medical treatment that is necessary and reasonable. Recently, a New Jersey appellate court analyzed whether an employer’s duty to provide an employee with medical treatment includes the duty to compensate an employee for the cost of marijuana that was prescribed under the New Jersey Medical Marijuana Act (the Act). If you were injured at work, you may be eligible to recover workers’ compensation benefits, including medical treatment, and you should speak to a New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney about your rights.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that in 2001, the employee suffered an injury while working for the employer. Specifically, he suffered herniation and bulging of discs in his lumbar spine when a dump truck emptied a load of concrete onto him. The employee filed a workers’ compensation claim, but the employer disputed that the employee’s injuries were work-related. The employee then underwent a variety of treatments, including surgery and the use of opioid pain medication, which he paid for himself, but he continued to suffer from chronic debilitating pain. He then began treating with a doctor who specialized in palliative care, who ultimately determined that the employee was a candidate for a medical marijuana program.

Reportedly, fifteen years after the injury occurred, a workers’ compensation trial was held to determine what benefits, if any, the employer owed the employee. At that time, the employer stipulated that the employee suffered a work-related injury but argued it was not obligated to reimburse the employee for the cost of his medical marijuana. Specifically, the employer argued that paying for medical marijuana would be tantamount to aiding and abetting a crime. The court ultimately found in favor of the employee and determined that employers were not exempt from reimbursing employees for the cost of medical marijuana treatment. The employer appealed the trial court ruling. Continue Reading ›

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