KEY TAKE OUTS
The developments in medicine have changed over the last few years. Medicinal cannabis once a forbidden treatment is now accepted and used to treat pain in injured workers.
In the case of Matthew Clark v Department of Transport  NSWWCC 210, the Commission found that the Insurer was liable to meet the cost of the medicinal cannabis treatment.
Mr Clark suffered injury in a motor accident whilst on his way home from work on 6 January 1988. It should be noted that prior to the legislative changes journey claims to and from work were covered under workers compensation.
Mr Clark’s doctors recommended treatment by medicinal cannabis and he had received the treatment for a number of years. The Respondent disputed that the treatment was reasonably necessary under s60 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987.
The evidence of Mr Clark was that he had a 30% improvement in pain, a 30-50% improvement in function and sleep and a 50% reduction in medication since using the medicinal cannabis.
Issues for Determination by the Workers Compensation Commission
Whether medicinal cannabis treatment that has been provided to the applicant (Mr Clark), and is proposed as further treatment for the applicant, is reasonably necessary?
The Medical Evidence
A number of doctors provided evidence as to their opinions as to whether the treatment was reasonable and also to that of whether it was of concern of misuse given the long-term use of the cannabis. The applicant was also seeking relief from a number of medications and alcohol in conjunction with the medicinal cannabis treatment.
The Commission held that the applicant (Mr Clark) was entitled to have the respondent meet the costs of such reasonable treatment. It was accepted that the medicinal treatment that Mr Clark had undertaken to date is reasonably necessary in alleviating the consequences of his injury, there was no order as to future treatment as there was no proposed future treatment set out in the medical report.
If was future treatment was disputed it would be a matter to come back before the Commission.
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ABOUT KARENA NICHOLLS:
Karena is a Partner at Coutts Lawyers & Conveyancers and is the Head of our personal injury lawyers (with extensive knowledge in personal injury) and Employment Law teams. She is passionate and dedicated to helping her clients understand their rights and obligations and advising them on the best course of action to achieve their desired outcomes. It is her practical and client-orientated approach which has attributed to her authentic reputation positioning her as a highly regarded compensation and employment lawyer.
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