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  • Pennsylvania Court Rules CBD Oil Covered Under Workers’ Compensation Act

    cbd oilA Pennsylvania appeals court decided cannabidiol (CBD) oil meets the requirements as a supply item for employer reimbursement under the Workers’ Compensation Act. The case involved an injured workers’ compensation attorney whose doctor prescribed him CBD oil after he sustained a significant work-related back injury. The Court’s ruling last month reversed the Workers’ Compensation appeal board’s previous order, which denied CBD oil as a reimbursable medication and supply.

    The Commonwealth majority reversed the Workers’ Comp appeal board’s decision for several reasons, saying the Board improperly engaged in its own findings and “expressly” refused to clarify CBD oil as a supply or medicine in its ruling. The plaintiff in the suit sustained a back injury when he tripped over his work bag while loading files for a trial into it. The plaintiff’s doctor prescribed him numerous medications to mitigate his back pain but later decided to switch to CBD oil to avoid increasing the dosages for his other prescriptions and in hopes of staving off possible future surgery.

    Although the plaintiff supplied his employer with his prescription and related receipts, his employer refused to reimburse him, arguing that CBD oil does not constitute pharmaceutical drug therapy. In response to his employer’s decision, the plaintiff filed a penalty petition, which is a motion that an injured worker files when their employer or insurance company violates the Workers’ Compensation Act. A workers’ compensation judge reviewed the plaintiff’s case and ordered his employer to cover the costs associated with the CBD oil, clarifying it as both a supply and a component of the plaintiff’s medical treatment, which the Court called necessary and reasonable.

    There is a legal precedent for the Court’s ruling. Just last April, a Pennsylvania state appellate court issued a pair of rulings mandating employers to reimburse claimants of-of-pocket expenses for medical marijuana that a doctor prescribes to treat a work-related injury or illness. This most recent ruling does even more to advance the rights and reimbursements of injured workers, of which there are millions every year. Here are some key statistics on work-related injuries and illnesses from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL):

    • Private industry employers reported 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2022, up 7.5% from the previous year
    • Injuries increased by 4.5% (2.3 million cases) and illnesses by 26.1% (460,700 cases)
    • Certain occupational groups carry particularly high risks for work-related injuries and/or illnesses, like transportation and material moving, service, production, healthcare practitioners and technical and installation, maintenance and repair
    • Construction workers, sales employees, office and administrative support workers, management, business and financial advisors, education, legal, community service, arts and media workers, farming, fishing and forestry employees and computer, engineering and science workers also all face the risk of sustaining work-related injuries or illnesses
    • The events most likely to cause a work-related injury or illness are slips, trips and falls, overexertion and bodily reaction, contact with objects and/or equipment, exposure to harmful substances and/or environments, violence and other injuries caused by persons and/or animals and transportation incidents

    Were You Injured in a Work-Related Incident?

    If you were injured in a work-related incident and use approved/prescribed medical marijuana or CBD oil to treat complications from your injury and have questions regarding reimbursement through your employer, someone at our firm can assist you.  At Galfand Berger, our attorneys have been tirelessly fighting on behalf of injured workers for decades. To learn more, contact a representative online now.

    Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP, Representing Injured Victims Since 1947

    If you have questions about filing a claim for injuries you sustained, contact the Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorneys at Galfand Berger today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.

    1-800-222-USWA (8792)