District of Columbia: Overuse of Narcotic Pain-Relievers Is Not Abandonment of Workplace

District of Columbia: Overuse of Narcotic Pain-Relievers Is Not Abandonment of Workplace

A District of Columbia appellate court has affirmed an ALJ’s finding that a claimant did not voluntarily limit her income and was entitled to continue receiving TTD payments related to a work-related injury in spite of the fact that she had been medically cleared for light work, had been offered light duty by the employer, and where the reason she could not perform the light duty was that she took her narcotic medication at a frequency greater than that advised by her physician.  The court acknowledged the employer’s argument, that claimant’s self-directed over-medication constituted a voluntary action to limit her income, but held the ALJ’s decision was supported by competent evidence.  The court noted that the ALJ made a finding that claimant’s narcotic medication made her feel drowsy on the days she tried to work and she appeared drowsy and disoriented at times during the workers’ compensation hearing in spite of the fact that she testified she had only taken the prescribed amount of medication prior to the hearing.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is a leading commentator and expert on the law of workers’ compensation.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to lexis.com.

See Marriott at Wardman Park v. District of Columbia Dep’t of Emp. Servs., 2014 D.C. App. LEXIS 54 (Mar. 6, 2014) [2014 D.C. App. LEXIS 54 (Mar. 6, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 84.04 [84.04]

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

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