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What about Medical Costs?

Dave Langevin - Thursday, February 18, 2016

If you get injured at work, your employer may be required to pay for the resulting medical care. In order for the medical treatment to be covered, it must be reasonably required to “cure and relieve” an injury that arose out of and in the course of your employment. The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that “cure and relieve” actually means “cure or relieve.”

A number of interesting cases have addressed the issue of what it means to “cure and relieve” an injury. One such case was Schutte v. Independent School District No. 281. In this case, the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals was forced to deal with what type of treatment a school had to provide when one of its employees suffered a human bite that drew blood. The school paid for an initial treatment involving an HIV test and a Hepatitis B vaccine. The school refused, however, to pay for follow-up treatment that the doctor had recommended arguing that it was preventative treatment for a condition that had not been diagnosed.

The court ruled that the school had to pay for follow-up treatment. It stated, “It would be an absurd result to require an injured employee to actually contract a serious or even life-threatening disease before being allowed treatment reasonably consequent to his or her injury…” Essentially, an employer must provide treatment that lessens the risk of injury developing from a workplace accident.

In another case, Couette v. Parsons Elec., LLC, the employee suffered an ankle injury while on the job. Parsons, the employer, admitted liability and paid for two surgeries on the employee’s left ankle. After the surgery, the doctor told the employee that he must not put any weight on the ankle for six weeks. The employee did not follow this advice, and subsequently needed more treatment for his ankle. The court ruled that, because the employee had not followed the instructions of his doctor, the employer was not responsible for the cost of the new surgery.

This area of law can get very complicated. If you have an injury at work and need help, give us a call. We will fight to get you the compensation that you deserve.  612-ASK-DAVE


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