Wage Loss Paid for Hours Missed to Get Necessary Medical Treatment
State ex rel. Williams-Laker v. Indus. Comm. (1/14/98), 80 Ohio St.3d 694.
Issue: Is an injured worker who misses work to receive treatment for their injury entitled to wage loss for the hours of work missed because of the treatment?
Background: The employer certified Williams-Laker’s claim for “lumbosacral strain/sprain L5-S1 bulging with associated radiculitis into the lower extremity.” She received temporary total. She asked authorization for a pain control clinic and the authorization was granted September 24, 1991. She got the treatment from September 30, 1991 to December 30, 1991. She continued to receive physical therapy until September 1992. She worked part-time during the pain treatment, taking time off to go for treatment. On March 4, 1993 she applied for wage loss seeking reimbursement for salary lost while receiving the therapy. The Commission denied wage loss on the basis that she did not establish a restriction due to the injury. She filed a mandamus suit. The Court of Appeals granted mandamus for a limited period, September 30, 1991 to December 30, 1991.
Decision: Ohio Supreme Court affirms, ruling that an injured worker who
misses work to receive prescribed, approved treatments for the injury … may recover wage loss for the time absent from work only if the claimant proves 1] treatment medically necessary for the claimant to perform the job, 2] that without the treatment he or she could not continue to work full-time, and 3] that treatment was available only during the claimant’s hours of employment.
The Court finds that the part-time work coupled with the treatment was the least restrictive alternative to temporary total. Court said she did not show that treatment was medically necessary other than the period from September 30, 1991 to December 30, 1991.