Louisiana: Medical Treatment Schedule Can Be Retroactively Utilized

Louisiana: Medical Treatment Schedule Can Be Retroactively Utilized

The Supreme Court of Louisiana, reversing a decision by the state's Court of Appeal, held that La. R.S. 23:1203.1, enacted in 2009 by the state legislature, and which adopted a medical treatment schedule for use in making medical treatment decisions in workers’ compensation cases, was a procedural, not a substantive, statute.  Because of that procedural characterization, the high court held that the statute applied to all requests for medical treatment and/or all disputes emanating from requests for medical treatment after the effective date of the medical treatment schedule, regardless of the date of the work-related injury or accident. Citing Juge, Louisiana Workers' Compensation, § 13:6 (2d ed. 2013), the state supreme court also noted that the legislation had been a combined endeavor by employers, insurers, labor, and medical providers to establish meaningful guidelines for the treatment of injured workers.  Here the worker’s injury occurred in 1999, prior to the effective date of the statute, while the request for medical treatment that precipitated the instant action did not occur until after the promulgation of the medical treatment schedule. The court reasoned that since a cause of action under La. R.S. 23:1203(A) did not arise until an injury or accident occurs and a medical service or treatment was necessary, the worker did not acquire a property right or vested interest in her cause of action prior to the effective date of La. R.S. 23:1203.1 and the medical treatment schedule.

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 Church Mut. Ins. Co. v. Dardar, 2014 La. LEXIS 1151 (May 7, 2014) [2014 La. LEXIS 1151 (May 7, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 94.02 [94.02]

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

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