The Supreme Court addressed two separate cases, one involving a woman with carpal-tunnel syndrome, and another involving a man who developed lower-back problems after working 20 years as a meat packer. According to Landau, both case outcomes will result in unfortunate outcomes for many working people. The ABRAMS LANDAU trial lawyer adds that this is especially harsh for those disabled workers who do not have other insurance to cover their medical treatment.
As noted in the newspaper article on the case, “If you get sick at work because of some chemical and have some pre-existing condition, you have to pay part of that care, even though you didn’t need treatment before…It’s just a travesty for the injured worker.” An attorney for the Utah Labor Commission said the decision will “change what we thought the law was, which was to require Workers Compensation insurance carriers to pay for all of the medical care necessary to treat work-related occupational diseases. Now, those expenses are going to be parsed out between the part that is directly attributable to the employee and the part that might relate to an individual’s propensity to a disease, and the cost will (be) split according to those proportions,” Hennebold said. He said he fears some workers will lose out because they will never seek any medical care if they cannot pay their portion of the costs.