Exclusive remedy doesn't bar worker's claim after hospitalization
Case name: Appeal of New Hampshire Department of Corrections, No. 2010-811 (N.H. 11/29/11).
The New Hampshire Supreme Court held that the exclusive remedy provision did not bar a worker's claims because he did not seek benefits related to his alleged wrongful termination.
What it means: In New Hampshire, a worker can bring a claim for wrongful termination either under the workers' compensation law or some other law but may not bring a claim under both.
Summary: A worker filed a workers' compensation claim alleging that he suffered emotional injuries because of harassment and retaliation at his job. He was awarded temporary partial disability benefits. He sought temporary total disability benefits after he was hospitalized for major depressive disorder. The worker also filed a claim with the state's commission for human rights seeking damages for his allegedly wrongful discharge. The employer's insurer argued that his claim for wrongful termination waived the worker's claim for increased benefits. The New Hampshire Supreme Court held that the worker's claim for benefits was not barred, and he was entitled to benefits.
The court explained that a worker can bring a claim for wrongful discharge under either workers' compensation law or some other law, but not both. Here, the worker did not bring a workers' compensation claim for his allegedly wrongful termination. He only sought workers' compensation benefits related to an injury that occurred before the wrongful termination claim.
The employer's insurer also argued that the worker's medical expert's report and testimony should not have been considered because he did not meet the statutory requirements. The court disagreed, stating that the qualifications for medical experts only apply to medical examinations requested by the employer. They do not apply to medical examinations conducted by the worker's experts.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
January 9, 2012
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