Lack of medical testimony stalls employee's request for transportation
Martinez v. Selecta Farms, 16 FLWCLB 7 (Fla. JCC, Miami 2009).
Ruling: A Florida judge of compensation claims denied a claimant's request for transportation to and from his authorized physicians.
What it means:
A doctor's preference that a claimant not drive is insufficient to support an authorization for transportation to and from the claimant's physicians for treatment. The doctor's testimony must indicate that transportation is medically necessary.
Summary: The claimant filed a request for transportation to and from his authorized physicians for treatment of his compensable back condition. He explained that transportation was provided by the employer in the past but was terminated in 2007 or 2008. He explained that he needed transportation because his back hurt when he was seated for a prolonged period of time.
According to the claimant, his medical condition was such that the necessity of transportation cannot be foreseen or predicted. The E/C denied that transportation is medically necessary. The JCC found that the claimant's request for transportation was not medically necessary.
The JCC noted that when the treating doctor's testimony was considered in its totality, it indicated that the claimant had no driving restrictions and that transportation is not medically necessary. The treating doctor issued a one-time transportation recommendation based on the claimant's complaints of dizziness. However, the medical records did not substantiate this symptom. Rather, the records revealed complaints of palpitations, headaches and chest discomfort. Furthermore, the claimant's pain management doctor's "preference" that the claimant not drive did not rise to the level of medical necessity for transportation. The doctor's testimony did not support the claimant's alleged physical inability to drive. In fact, the claimant acknowledged driving around his neighborhood, going to church on Sundays, and having a valid driver's license.
March 30, 2009
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