Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Decision on Refusal of Resonable Medical Care

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court's recent opinion in Bereznicki v. WCAB (Eat N' Park Hospitality Group), No. 1047 C.D. 2009 (October 19, 2009) debated the issue of an employee's refusal of medical care.

Section 306(f.1)(8) of the Act states that, if an employee refuses reasonable treatment, the employee shall forfeit all rights to compensation for any increase in incapacity resulting from such refusal. Treatment is reasonable if it is highly probable that the treatment will cure the health problem and enhance the claimant’s prospects for gainful and fulfilling employment. Kneas v. Workmen’s Compensation Appeal Board (Cross Country Clothes), 685 A.2d 248 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1996), appeal denied, 548 Pa. 650, 695 A.2d 788 (1997).

The Workers' Compensation Judge found that employee should not refuse a recommended medicine detox program

The Workers' Compensation Appeal Board affirmed the decision of the workers' compensation judge.

In concluding that the Employee should have attempted the detox program, the Court remarked that:

"In this case, a detox program would wean Claimant from toxic doses of medication, curing that health problem, allowing Claimant to return to normal functioning and enhancing her prospects for gainful and fulfilling employment. Although such a program would not return Claimant to her pre-injury job, her refusal of such treatment certainly increases her incapacity."

Read the entire opinion here.

To have one of the Quatrini Rafferty attorneys evaluate your Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation case, please contact our Greensburg or Latrobe offices at 1-888-288-9748 or at our website

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