Pennsauken, NJ (Law Firm Newswire) March 22, 2017 – In New Jersey, a decision on the issue of whether medical marijuana can be ordered under workers’ compensation was rendered on December 15, 2016.
As reported by the National Workers Compensation Defense Network (NWCDN), plaintiff Andrew Watson was employed by 84 Lumber and suffered an injury on November 8, 2008. He was awarded one-third of partial total in 2012 allocated in the following way: 50 percent for the hand and 12.5 percent for complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).
According to the terms of the settlement, 84 Lumber must approve continuous pain management treatment with Dr. Peter Corda, with whom Watson had consulted about taking part in New Jersey’s medical marijuana program (MMP) in 2013. In 2013, Dr. Corda referred Watson to his partner, Dr. Jeffrey Drew Polcer, who was qualified to perform medical marijuana assessments. Watson visited Dr. Polcer, and presented complaints of burning pain and swelling in his left hand accompanied by heightened sensitivity to touch. He said his medications failed to alleviate the pain. Watson admitted to Dr. Polcer that he had tried marijuana, which reduced the pain considerably.
Dr. Polcer determined that the plaintiff was afflicted with neuropathic and complex regional pain syndrome of the left hand and advised that Watson use medicinal marijuana. In addition, he stated that if the medicinal marijuana proves beneficial, plaintiff should reduce his use of other medication.
Noted South Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys, who are not involved with the case, Petrillo & Goldberg stated, “Since the treatment was effective, the only reasonable deduction was that the defendant should be required to pay for such treatment.”
After partaking in medical marijuana treatment, Watson presented the invoices and evidence of cash payments for the procedure to his employer’s insurance carrier, he was refused reimbursement. He filed an Emergent Motion to Enforce the provisions of the Approving Settlement from 2012. The defendant argued that Dr. Polcer was not an authorized doctor, and withdrew authorization of Dr. Corda, who was requested to conduct an IME of plaintiff. The Judge of Compensation ordered that authorization be reinstated for Dr. Corda, and a trial proceeded on the principal issue of medical marijuana as an effective treatment.
The judge ruled that there was medical justification for plaintiff’s use of medicinal marijuana, and therefore, ordered that the defendant pay for the expenses of the medical marijuana program and the plaintiff’s prescriptions.
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