eNotes: Workers’ Compensation – May 2022 – Virginia
May 25, 2022
SIGNIFICANT CASE SUMMARIES
VA CASE SUMMARY
Suyes v. Chesterfield County Public Schools
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission
Decided: March 30, 2022
When Zoloft was prescribed for both leg pain related to the work injury – and also psychological issues unrelated to the work injury – the Zoloft was still compensable.
Claimant suffered compensable injuries to his left leg, left ankle, trauma to her perineal nerve, and torn cartilage. Because Claimant had a family member addicted to opiods, she wished to forgo narcotic medication, preferring instead to take anti-depressants to treat nerve pain. She tried several such medications, but found that Zoloft provided the most relief with the fewest side effects. The Zoloft did not eliminate the pain, but brought nerve symptoms under control. Attempts to cease taking the drug have been unsuccessful, and led to her being re-prescribed.
Crucially, she utilized Zoloft for psychological issues, but maintained it was also prescribed to treat her leg. Employer disputed that ongoing Zoloft was reasonable, necessary, and causally related to the accident. The Deputy Commissioner found that the evidence established that Claimant’s Zoloft prescription constituted treatment for her compensable left leg injury.
The Full Commission affirmed, finding that the Zoloft was reasonable treatment for the leg injury. Medication which provides palliative relief may constitute necessary care where the Commission finds credible complaints of pain. The fact that Zoloft was prescribed in part to treat anxiety and depression does not disqualify it as reasonable and necessary treatment in connection to the accident.
While some treatment may not “seem” to be causally related to the accident, if Claimant’s physician indicates it is treatment for the accident it can still be found compensable.
Any questions regarding this case can be addressed to Mike Bliley, Esquire, at (571) 464-0435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.