Obesity Is Now a Disease
Since 2013, obesity has been reclassified as a “disease state” by the American Medical Association, which sets standards for the medical industry. Obesity now affects close to 40 percent of the population and may reach 50 percent by 2030, according to the National Heart Forum.
Even so, not the many workers’ compensation claims have been filed yet that relate to obesity causing on the job injuries. Since proving a connection between obesity and job injuries is a tough job, not many of these claims have been approved either.
Claims by obese people that have been approved involve compensable injuries. Boston’s Gourmet Pizza vs. Adam Childers was a case in which Childers needed surgery after a freezer door struck him in the back. Due to obesity, he first needed lap band surgery for weight loss, as he was entitled to treatment, according to the Indiana appeals court.
Another successful claim by an obese individual injured on the job was SAIF Corp vs. Sprague, in which the Oregon Supreme Court agreed that workers’ compensation covers weight-loss surgery. Since Sprague injured his knee on the job, which required both gastric-bypass surgery and knee replacement surgery, the court ruled that he could be compensated.
Sorting Out the Complexities
Workers’ compensation is already a complex issue due to the fact that each state has its own requirements. Obesity adds to the complexity since it can affect how much weight a person can lift. Talk with Gaylord & Nantaisto learn more about whether you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits or not.