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CAN WORKER'S COMPENSATION COVER MEDICAL MARIJUANA?

by Kelly A. Hemple on Jul. 17, 2017

Employment Workers' Compensation 

Summary: CAN WORKER'S COMPENSATION COVER MEDICAL MARIJUANA?

As new treatments and therapies become accepted means of treating workplace injuries, the law sometimes finds itself in strange territory. For many who have been injured on the job, the best treatment for them may turn out to be some form of medical marijuana. This raises an interesting legal question — does an insurer have to pay for medical marijuana treatment?

In New Jersey, the answer is maybe. A recent ruling handed down by New Jersey judge ordered an insurer to reimburse a man for medical marijuana treatment he had paid for out of pocket a couple of years prior. The ruling also directed the company to pay for the treatment going forward.

In and of itself, the ruling is not completely binding for all cases that are like it. However, it does set an important precedent. Essentially the issue moves from being about whether it is proper for the insurer to pay for the treatment to whether the treatment is appropriate to recommend. It is highly likely that other judges, both inside and outside of New Jersey, will look to this ruling to inform their decisions when considering similar cases.

Ultimately, your best health and quality of life is usually not going to achieved by trusting your care to strictly to the preferences of an insurer. Like all the best things in life, your best care must be fought for. If you have been injured on the job, or if you believe that you are not being treated fairly by worker's compensation, you owe it to yourself to enlist the guidance of an experienced attorney who will protect your best interests.

Source: The Inquirer, "Judge: Insurance company must pay for medical marijuana for injured N.J. worker," Jan Hefler, accessed Jan. 31, 2017

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