Worker can't justify additional treatment for healed back strain
Case name: Walker v. United Cerebral Palsy of Arkansas, No. CA12-858 (Ark. Ct. App. 03/06/13).
The Arkansas Court of Appeals held that a worker was not entitled to additional medical treatment for her back injury.
What it means:
In Arkansas, injured workers have the burden of proving that medical treatment is reasonably necessary for treatment of the compensable injury.
Summary: A worker sustained a compensable back injury while assisting a patient from a wheelchair. Her doctor diagnosed her with a lumbar strain and associated spasms, determined that she had no permanent injury, and released her to normal activities after three weeks. She complained of chronic back pain. Five years after her injury, the medical consensus was that her remaining pain resulted from degenerative changes, and her doctor found she reached maximum medical improvement. Later, she sought additional medical treatment for her injury. The Arkansas Court of Appeals denied her request for additional medical treatment.
The court found that her back pain and complaints were the result of a degenerative condition and not her work injury, which had healed. Several physicians opined that her back strain healed long before she reached MMI. The worker argued that she still had spasms, but her medical records revealed that the last documented spasms by a medical provider occurred more than 10 years before. The doctor noted her spasms were mild and that there was no support for a permanent partial disability rating.
Although the worker later complained of spasms all over her body, her doctor did not discover or diagnose her with spasms. At subsequent medical visits, another doctor did not mention anything other than "tenderness."
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June 10, 2013
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