The previous judgment from a workers’ compensation death benefit appeal by an insurance company based in Nebraska has been overturned in favor of the family of the victim. The family of a 36-year-old carpenter said he died from an overdose of prescription drugs after hurting himself on the job. The verdict on this workers’ compensation case has been reversed twice.
The man had fallen off a roof while working a job in 2008. The workers’ compensation doctor he was instructed to see prescribed a variety of medications to aid him in his physical and mental recovery. The victim saw his personal doctor a year later and was prescribed medications to help him sleep and to help with the anxiety he was experiencing. His family said all the medications combined with a case of pneumonia caused his death after just a few months.
When the case was first brought to the state court, the workers’ compensation judge agreed that the man’s medications were a factor in his death. The company for which he worked and the company that insured the worker’s compensation claims appealed the ruling, where it was ruled that there was not sufficient physician evidence that the medication was the cause of his death. The case was then taken to the state’s Supreme Court, where a unanimous vote overturned the appellate ruling by separating the guidelines of tort liability and the structure of the worker’s compensation system.
A report on the case did not disclose the compensation amount requested by the family or the amount agreed upon by the Supreme Court. In this situation, the man’s family did not give up on their workers’ compensation verdict after the appeal and that proved to be to their advantage. Those in Nebraska who may be facing similar circumstances should persevere in their quest for justice.
Source: businessinsurance.com, “Worker’s overdose death doesn’t bar survivor comp benefits“, Sheena Harrison, May 29, 2015