A workers compensation insurance company has been ordered by a New Mexico Judge to cover the costs of medical marijuana for an injured worker. The employee sustained a back injury in 2000 that rendered him 99% permanent partial disability. The worker is experiencing chronic lower back pain. Two of his doctors has certified that the employee is eligible for the state medical marijuana program.
The New Mexico court upheld the decision by the workers compensation judge finding the insurance company needs to reimburse the injured worker for the costs of his medical marijuana. The Judge determined the medical marijuana was “reasonable and necessary medical care” under the terms of the New Mexico Workers Compensation Act which provides for lost wages and medical expenses for injured workers.
The Workers Compensation Insurance Company appealed the judge’s decision arguing they would be violating federal law by paying for the cost of the medical marijuana. The court rejected the argument stating the employee is covered under the medical marijuana program that took effect in 2007 in New Mexico, even though marijuana is illegal under federal law.
Although this is an extreme case seeking coverage of Marijuana for an injured worker for back pain, there are many times where a workers compensation insurance company denies coverage of medical treatment arguing the treatment is not related to the work injury. IF you or a family member is having difficulty seeking coverage of medical treatment under workers compensation, contact Attorney Michael Smith at The Law Offices of Michael O. Smith for a free consultation