According to a report from the Insurance Journal, the Superior Court of Delaware has reversed a decision by the Industrial Accident Board (IAB) which would have cut off an injured worker’s drug therapy treatment. The court determined that the IAB did not give proper priority to the view of the injured worker’s treating physician. Here, our Wilmington workers’ comp lawyer explains the key thing to know about the decision from the Delaware court.
Background: Employee in Delaware Sought Workers’ Comp Benefits for Slip and Fall Accident
The case at issue before the court centered around a woman who was hurt on the job more than two decades ago. She experienced head, neck, and back injuries in a workplace slip and fall accident that occurred in 2001 while she was employed by Delaware Park. Delaware Park is a multi-faceted gaming facility offering a casino and a race track. The injured worker in this case received benefits for a period of 18 years. She was still receiving medication for pain relief.
Nearly Two Decades Later, Insurer Moved to Terminate Permanent Disability Benefits
In 2020, her employer moved to cut off her workers’ comp benefits. That claim was denied—at least in part. The IAB determined that the worker was still entitled to receive permanent disability benefits. However, the court did rule in favor of the employer, finding that it was time for the worker to gradually wean off of her medication. The IAB determined that she should slowly reduce her medication over a six-month period. The worker appealed that decision.
Delaware Superior Court: Decision Reversed, Treating Physician’s View Given Priority
Upon review, the Delaware Superior Court reversed the decision of the IAB. The court determined that the IAB abused its discretion in ordering the injured worker to wean off her medication over the course of a period of six months. In rendering the verdict, the court emphasized that the court should have given high priority to the view of the injured worker’s treating physician. However, as it failed to do so, the decision to require the worker to wean off her medication plan was not justified on medical grounds. Therefore, workers’ comp benefits for the medication could not be terminated.
The Treating Physician Plays a Key Role in a Workers’ Comp Claim
In workers’ compensation claims, the treating physician holds a crucial role in determining the outcome. Their responsibilities include diagnosing and documenting the nature and extent of the injury, establishing a treatment plan, and outlining any work restrictions. Their comprehensive medical reports form the basis for evaluating the claim, calculating the benefits, and determining the injured worker’s eligibility for compensation. Cooperation between the claimant and their treating physician is essential for a successful workers’ compensation claim.
Contact Our Delaware Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
At Freibott Law Firm, our Delaware workers’ comp lawyer is devoted to providing the highest level of personalized legal representation. Call us now at (302) 633-9000 or contact us online to set up a free, no obligation case review. With law offices in Wilmington and Sussex County, we provide workers’ comp representation throughout all of Delaware.