Implantable Medical Devices and Florida Workers’ Compensation Cases
Implantable medical devices save lives and preserve people’s health and productivity. You probably know someone whose health has been greatly improved because of a pacemaker, insulin pump, or hip or knee replacement. By nature, implantable devices require long-term follow-up care, if only to check that they are still working properly and do not need maintenance or replacement. Florida law requires workers’ compensation to pay for medical devices, implantable and otherwise, when their use is the direct result of a workers’ compensation doctor’s recommendation. In other words, workers’ comp might pay for anything from crutches or a back brace to an artificial knee joint. Normally, the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims is two years from the date of the injury, but follow-up care, including medical device use, can last longer than this. You are entitled to continued follow-up care for a work injury, even if the follow-up care lasts more than two years. If you are involved in a dispute with your employer regarding a medical device, contact a South Florida workers’ compensation lawyer.
Florida Workers’ Compensation Disputes Over Medical Devices
Florida caselaw contains numerous decisions about disputes where injured workers requested compensation for their use of medical devices, and their employers refused to pay. Whether the court decided to order the employers to pay the workers’ claims depends on the details of each case. These are some examples:
- Nadine underwent a knee replacement in 2002, shortly after a work injury; the surgery involved the placement of a metal prosthesis. The surgeon predicted that she would need at least seven years of follow-up care. In 2009, Nadine filed a claim for follow-up treatment of her knee, and the employer denied it on the basis that the statute of limitations had expired. The appeals court ruled that the trial court must determine whether the employer knew that Nadine would still need treatment seven years after the accident; it appears that the employer did know.
- Freddy continued to use a back brace for more than two years after a work injury in 1981. The employer denied his claim for payment for the back brace, but the court ruled in his favor, because he had been using the medical device following the advice of the workers’ compensation doctor.
- In 1971, a lineman named Jay injured his knee. In addition to the treatments prescribed by the workers’ compensation doctor, Jay used a TENS unit to help him manage the pain. His employer refused to pay for the TENS unit, and the court sided with the employer, because the device was not part of the course of treatment prescribed by the workers’ compensation doctors.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
A Sunrise workers’ compensation lawyer can help you get your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance to pay for the medical devices that keep you able to work, even if the work injury that necessitated their use was long ago. Contact the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld for a consultation on your case.