State News : Delaware

NWCDN is a network of law firms dedicated to protecting employers in workers’ compensation claims.

NWCDN Members regularly post articles and summary judgements in workers’ compensations law in your state.  

Select a state from the dropdown menu below to scroll through the state specific archives for updates and opinions on various workers’ compensation laws in your state.

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Claimant filed a Petition to Determine Compensation Due seeking acknowledgement of injuries to his back, neck, right hand/wrist and head, as well as payment of medical expenses and temporary total disability benefits. Employer disputed the entire claim and, in the alternative, argued for resolution of any work injuries. The Board granted the Petition in part, acknowledging a sprain and strain of the low back and of the right hand/wrist and payment of outstanding medical expenses to the right hand/wrist. The Board denied compensability for the neck and head injury as well as total disability benefits.

A key factor in the outcome involved issues with the claimant’s treating doctor, Dr. Cary. The Board expressed concern as to Dr. Cary’s treatment of the claimant and recordkeeping of same. Dr. Cary’s treatment violated 19 Del. C. Section 2322D(a)(1), which requires that a health-care provider providing treatment to an injured employee under the Delaware Workers’ Compensation Statute be a certified provider at the time of treatment or obtain preauthorization for each health-care produced, office visit, or health service. Dr. Cary was not certified when he started to treat the claimant. Another issue involved Dr. Cary referring the claimant to a work hardening program despite having released the claimant to full-duty work with no restrictions. If the claimant was released to full duty, then the Board found he would not have needed a work hardening program.

As for recordkeeping, the Board found Dr. Cary failed to comply with the requirements relating to prescribing medications, including narcotics. In discussing these requirements, the Board noted Dr. Cary failed to document checking the prescription drug monitoring program. He failed to document discussions with the claimant about the risks and benefits of the medications. When asked about this during deposition testimony, Dr. Cary responded stating he “could not possibly document every single thing that he says or does to a patient and every single thing the patient says to him.”  The Board stated it was “alarming” that after Dr. Cary’s medical license was already suspended previously, he was again not in compliance with his obligations when prescribing medications. The Board explained Dr. Cary was demonstrating “the same types of cavalier and unprofessional recordkeeping and medical oversight he exhibited leading up to his suspended license.” Due to these findings, in addition to other evidence, the Board did not find Dr. Cary credible, which contributed to the denial of certain benefits and resolution of the remaining work injuries.

Should you have any questions regarding this decision, please contact Nick Bittner or any other attorney in our Workers’ Compensation Department.

Donald Savage v. Shoprite, IAB Hrg. No. 1518646 (May 26, 2023).