Workers’ Compensation and the Debate Over Future Medical Care

Nobody has the ability to see into the future or to know for sure what the lasting effects of an injury may be.

neck-and-back-injuryWhen attempting to settle a workers’ compensation claim, the question of future medical care is often a topic. While an employer would like nothing more than to pay the employee their deserved wages and be done with it, that employee could be entitled to continued treatment. When such arguments arise, you will need the help of a qualified Missouri workers’ compensation attorney to see to it that all of your needs, present and future, will be met.

Common Work-Related Injuries

One of the most common work-related injuries are those to the back. These are also the types of injuries that can have a lasting effect on an injured persons quality of life. Most will need ongoing care if not for months, then for years after the accident to help alleviate pain and restore function to the area. These are also the types of injuries that a workers’ compensation insurance company will fight hard to avoid having to pay.

Who Pays for Future Medical Care?

The Labor and Industrial Relations Commission has been clear in their decisions regarding future medical care. As in the case of a Missouri nursing home employee who injured her back while lifting a patient, the commission finds that so long as there is medical evidence to support the possible need for further treatment, the employer is obligated to pay for it.

In the case of the nurse, the commission ordered that future treatment included but was not limited to, ongoing doctor appointments for the treatment of the pain, prescription pain medications, and any recommended treatments or therapies. The employer in this case appealed, stating that it was impossible to know the extent of treatment that would be needed. The court cited expert medical opinion and noted that while they were aware that all named medical options may not be relevant, the employee still had a right to them if needed.

The Need For Medical Testimony

The key factor in these types of cases is a Missouri workers’ compensation attorney who can help provide the medical testimony needed. Workers’ compensation cases often rely on such testimony in order to prove the need for medical treatment or to determine the extent of a disability. The court will leave it up to the discretion of the treating physician as to the type of medical care the patient receives, but will order that the employer continue to pay for it.

While limited in compensation compared to a personal injury case, an injured employee still has the right to a doctor’s care and any treatment that they recommend, so long as the injury is still causing discomfort or inconvenience. Do not allow yourself to be shorted on your rightful medical care. Call the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300 to investigate your case.

Photo credit: via Google

Updated: June 27, 2014