Nebraska Court of Appeals Addresses When Unrelated Medical Care May be Compensable to Treat a Related Condition
Recently, the Nebraska Court of Appeals in Carr v. GNH Farms was faced with the issue of when an unrelated medical condition would be considered compensable in order to treat a work related injury. In Carr, a Plaintiff was recommended to undergo an accident related medical procedure. However, before he could do so, a physician indicated that he needed to undergo coronary artery bypass before he could treat for those work related injuries. The trial court found that the coronary bypass procedure was not compensable as there was not a “reasonable relationship between the accident at work and the medical condition found after the accident.” The Plaintiff appealed the matter to the Nebraska Court of Appeals.
Reversing the trial court, the Nebraska Court of Appeals indicated that the obvious purpose of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 48-120 is to authorize the compensation court to order the employer to pay the costs of medical treatment reasonably necessary to aleve the worker from the effects of the injury. The Appellate Court noted that the compensable medical procedure must be “required by the nature of the injury” and “relieve pain or promote and hasten the employee’s restoration to health.” Relying on this statute and two prior decisions of Nebraska appellate courts, the Court of Appeals noted that should a court determine a medical treatment for a condition unrelated to a work injury is medically reasonable and necessary to treat the underlying work related injury, the medical treatment is compensable.
Essentially, the Court of Appeals has indicated that if a work related condition requiring treatment can only so occur if an unrelated condition is first treated, the medical expenses for the unrelated care could be compensable. For questions regarding compensability of medical expenses under Nebraska law please don’t hesitate to contact Nebraska workers’ compensation attorneys Dallas Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or Paul Barta at email@example.com.