A common issue faced by workers’ compensation insurers and medical providers is the prevalence of chronic opioid use by injured workers with chronic pain. Longterm use of opioids for chronic non-cancer pain increased dramatically over the past two decades, despite very little evidence that long-term (at least 16 weeks) opioid use for such pain is effective. (1) As many claims handlers are aware, injured workers often remain on opioid pain medicine for months or years – at great expense – with little to no benefit.
Have you ever settled a case for a substantial sum only to see the claimant’s obituary in the newspaper a few weeks later? What steps can you take to come up to speed on the claimant’s health status before you settle?