If you get injured on the job in New Jersey, your medical costs should be covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy. Generally speaking, workers’ compensation benefits should cover any treatment that is necessary or appropriate for your injury to heal and to relieve your symptoms. These cases can become complicated, however, if a workers’ comp insurer believes that a certain treatment is unnecessary or elective. In such a situation, the insurer may deny part of a claim that seeks compensation for that particular treatment.
One case in New Jersey may have set a precedent regarding one type of sometimes controversial treatment – medical marijuana. A worker for 84 Lumber suffered a serious hand injury in 2012. He developed neuropathic and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and, despite taking painkillers such as Oxycodone and lidocaine, he still felt severe pain in his hand. His doctor prescribed medical marijuana, which has had successful results for neuropathic pain.
Not surprisingly, the workers’ compensation insurer denied coverage for this treatment and the case ultimately went to court. A New Jersey district court recently held that the workers’ comp insurance should cover this type of treatment for several reasons, including:
- Medical marijuana has less of a debilitating effect than traditional painkillers.
- Medical marijuana as pain relief may help to reduce narcotic addictions from the painkiller epidemic.
- New Jersey has the most expensive medical marijuana in the United States, so injured workers likely could not afford this type of treatment without coverage.
While this decision is the first of its kind in our state and while it may be influential in future cases, other courts across New Jersey are not bound to follow a district court precedent. We will definitely follow similar cases to see if this law develops further.
Workers’ compensation claims can be denied for a variety of reasons and often denials are wrongful. If your claim has been partially or completely denied, you need to discuss your rights with a highly experienced NJ workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.
Call 201-498-9768 today for more information.
At the Law Office of John L. Schettino, we understand how important workers’ compensation benefits are after a workplace injury. We stand up for the rights of workers to ensure they receive the full coverage they deserve for medical bills and lost wages. We can help with claims, appeals, and all other stages of the workers’ comp process, so please call today if you have been injured on the job.