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Workers' Compensation

Virginia: Worker Could Seek Unauthorized Medical Care Where Approved Physician’s Treatment Was Inadequate

The Workers’ Compensation Commission did not err in finding the employer liable for the costs of surgery and treatment of the employee’s work-related injuries performed by an unauthorized treating physician since, under Va. Code Ann. § 65.2–603, the employee sought medical treatment from the unauthorized physician in good faith after the treatment rendered by the approved physician was clearly inadequate to treat the employee’s condition. The court noted that the medications prescribed by the approved physician gave little or no relief. The approved physician had twice stated that the employee’s pain was a mystery to him, and, even after multiple diagnostic tests, the doctor could not find an answer. Under these circumstances, the unauthorized treatment was reasonable and necessary because no other treatment options were effective in reducing the employee’s pain, and a third doctor confirmed that no other options were available aside from surgery.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is the co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See City of Norfolk v. Gray, 2017 Va. App. LEXIS 36 (Feb. 14, 2017)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 94.02.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law