Case name: Mapes v. General Motors Corp., No. 47,385-WCA (La. Ct. App. 08/08/12).
Ruling: The Louisiana Court of Appeal held that a worker was not entitled to additional medical benefits.
What it means: In Louisiana, a seven-year gap between a worker's injury and work-related accident and intervening accidents will make it difficult to prove a causal connection between the injury and work accident.
Summary: A worker on a production line for a manufacturer sustained an injury to her arm and hand. The manufacturer accepted the claim and paid medical benefits for three surgeries and indemnity benefits for 520 weeks. Later, she sought co-payments for additional treatment for neck pain and further medical benefits for pain management and narcotics. The manufacturer argued that her complaints were unrelated to her work injury to her elbow and wrist. The Louisiana Court of Appeal held that she was not entitled to additional benefits.
The court explained that the worker did not complain about neck pain until seven years after the work incident. During that time, she was treated by many different doctors for accidents, falls, and claims of back injuries, abdominal pains, and migraines. She also complained of neck pain after some of the accidents. The doctors found no objective cause for her pain. The medical reports indicated that many of her complaints were psychiatric in nature and related to hysteria, anxiety, and depression. The court also pointed out that the worker had a history of alcohol and drug abuse. The worker failed to establish a causal connection between her treatment and the work accident.
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October 22, 2012
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