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Medical testimony can be vital in securing benefits

Most employers in the state of Pennsylvania are required to carry workers' compensation insurance to provide benefits to their employees should they suffer an injury or become ill due to something at their job. For an employee to obtain these benefits he or she must submit a workers' compensation claim. For a variety of reasons these claims are not always immediately accepted. One of those reasons could be the lack of medical testimony.

This is illustrated in a recent ruling by the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Appeal Board. The board reversed a decision by a workers' compensation judge that had allowed an electrician to add a MRSA infection to a previously submitted petition regarding an ACL issue that he had suffered while working. MRSA is a staff infection that is difficult to treat with antibiotics. The worker was seeking to add the MRSA infection since he reportedly contracted it while his initial knee injury was being treated.

The reason behind the reversal is that the contraction of MRSA due to the treatment of the previous injury was not medically documented. Specifically, the worker had not provided any testimony that connected treatment of the ACL tear with the contraction of the MRSA infection. It is not clear why such medical testimony was not provided.

While the worker was not able to add the MRSA illness to his claim, all was not lost for the worker. Despite his employer's efforts to terminate his ACL claim, the WCJ's finding that the ALC tear was in fact a result of a work injury, was allowed to stand.

Situations like this can be difficult for an injured worker to handle. For this reason many find it helpful to work with a workers' compensation attorney.

Source: Risk and Insurance, "MRSA infection can't be linked to work in absence of medical evidence," Feb. 4, 2013

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