UT Court Says Employers Can Apportion Worker's Comp

April 10, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Utah's Supreme Court found employers and insurers can apportion workers compensation medical expenses to pay only for the portion of an injury related to a claimant's job.

According to Business Insurance, the finding Tuesday stems from two cases heard in conjunction but ruled on separately. In both cases, the high court unanimously overturned appeals court decisions. Ameritech Library Services vs. Utah Labor Commission involved a claimant with carpal tunnel syndrome, while Dale T. Smith & Sons and Workers Compensation Fund vs. Utah Labor Commission involved a claimant with a lower-back condition.

In the Ameritech case, an administrative judge ruled that only 10% of the claimant’s injury was work-related, but the state’s Labor Commission overturned the ruling, finding that medical expenses should not be apportioned in occupational disease claims, Business Insurance said.

An appeals court agreed, but the high court reversed that decision based on its decision in the Dale T. Smith case. In that case, Business Insurance reports, the Supreme Court clarified state law, essentially holding that because medical benefits are compensation, the medical benefits are apportionable.