Groomer's failure to show need for care nixes depression coverage
Case name: Post v. Industrial Commission of Arizona, No. 2 CA-IC 2010-0015 (Ariz. Ct. App. 06/28/11, unpublished).
Ruling: In an unpublished decision, the Arizona Court of Appeals held that a dog groomer was not entitled to compensation for her depression and elbow injuries. She was entitled to compensation for her hand injury, including hand therapy and pain medication.
What it means:
In Arizona, if the medical testimony shows that a work injury aggravated a preexisting condition, the worker still must show that her preexisting condition was not medically stationary and that continued treatment would improve her aggravated condition.
Summary: A dog groomer injured her left hand in a work-related accident. Although she underwent surgery, she never regained full use of her hand and left her employment. The employer's insurer accepted her claim but later closed it. She sought benefits, claiming that she continued to have pain in her left hand and her right elbow due to overuse, and that the accident aggravated her preexisting depression because of her continued pain and unemployment. The Arizona Court of Appeals held that the depression and elbow injuries were not compensable, but she was entitled to hand therapy and pain medications.
The court explained that the medical testimony showed that the work injury aggravated the groomer's preexisting depression. The groomer asserted that because of this, and since she was still receiving medical treatment in the form of antidepressents, she was entitled to continued care for her depression. The court said that the groomer still had to show that her condition was not medically stationary and that continued medical treatment would improve her aggravated condition. The groomer's doctor said her functioning was not substantially different from her functioning before the injury. The court concluded that she did not show she required continued active medical care.
The court noted that there was conflicting medical evidence regarding the groomer's hand injury. The court found her left hand was medically stationary, so her condition was stable and nothing was needed to improve her condition.
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August 15, 2011
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