Worker's difficulty in finding doctor saves her from sanctions
Case name: Brown v. East Carroll Parish Police Jury, No. 45,851-WCA (La. Ct. App. 12/22/10).
Ruling: The Louisiana Court of Appeal held that a worker should not be sanctioned for failing to obtain court-ordered medical treatment.
What it means: A worker in Louisiana will not be sanctioned for failing to obtain court-ordered medical treatment when she has difficulty finding a doctor willing to accept a workers' compensation patient.
Summary: A worker injured her right knee, leg, and foot when she slipped in a puddle of water due to a leaky ceiling at work. She sought benefits. A workers' compensation judge ordered the employer to pay certain medical bills and that the claimant was entitled to a neuropathy workup performed by a neurologist. More than two years later, the employer sought sanctions against the claimant because she failed to obtain the court-ordered neuropathy workup. The employer contended that since it would be sanctioned if it had failed to comply with the court's order, the worker should be held to the same standard. The Louisiana Court of Appeal held that the worker should not be sanctioned.
The worker said that she had difficulties finding a neurologist who was willing to accept a workers' compensation patient. The WCJ appointed a neurosurgeon willing to accept a workers' compensation patient. The court said that the appointment removed the uncertainties surrounding the matter while also protecting the employer.
The employer argued that it should not be required to pay the full amount for an MRI ordered by the worker's doctor, who was located in a different state. The employer did not deny authorization for the MRI; it was unaware that the worker sought treatment from a neurologist in another state so it was never given the opportunity to approve or deny the treatment. The court found that the employer was only required to pay the statutory cap for the treatment.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
January 31, 2011
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