Alabama Workers' Comp Blawg

  • 07
  • Dec
  • 2008

REFUSAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PSYCHIATRIC TREATMENT

Ex parte Saad's Healthcare Services, Inc.

In this opinion released on December 5, 2008, the Alabama Supreme Court held that the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals was correct in determining that an employee was not disqualified by the exclusion found in § 25-5-57(a)(4)d from being considered permanently and totally disabled based on her refusal of psychological and psychiatric treatment after she reached MMI. The subject exclusion states: "Any employee whose disability results from an injury or impairment and who shall have refused to undergo physical or vocational rehabilitation ... shall not be deemed permanently and totally disabled." In support of its opinion, the Court explained that because the post-MMI treatment the employee refused was not offered for the purpose of restoring her physical function or her ability to engage in gainful employment, but was instead offered to treat her mental impairments, that treatment was not "physical or vocational rehabilitation" within the meaning of the exclusion found in § 25-5-57(a)(4)d.

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