Maryland Workers Compensation Mileage Case

In Breientback vs. N.B. Handy Company et al., the citation number is 366 Md. 467, 784 A.2d 569 (2001). In this Maryland Workers Compensation Case, the issues here is that a person who was injured during the course of employment whether that person is entitled for reimbursement for the cost of transportation to and from his medical provider that he is treating. The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that the insured should reimbursed the injured.

A claimant who is seeking relief under the Maryland Workers’ Compensation law that his employer. The insurer and employer did not raise any issues dealing with compensability of the Workers Compensation Claim which the Commissioner granting the benefits which includes medical care. The Commission issued an order directing the insurer to reimburse the injured worker for his mileage traveling to and back to his medical provider.

This case was appealed to Circuit Court which reversed the Commissioner’s decision. It was later appealed to Court of Special Appeals where the Court of Appeals on its own motion granted certiorari. The Court of Appeals ruled that the claimant be reimbursed for his mileage expenses which is necessary and reasonable transportation expense to travel to and from his medical care provider. The Court reversed the Circuit Court’s decision.

The Legislative intent of the statute is to set out that the Preamble of the Acts 1914 which put into effect the Act for Workers’ Compensation. The purpose of this Act is to protected families and their workers from hardship inflicted by work related injuries by providing the injured workers with loss of earning capacity compensation from an injury that was accidental during the court of employment. In addition, the Act is there to promote the general welfare of the government for the State and not permit the government of the State and their taxpayers to care for the injured and their families.

The Circuit Court ruled to the contrary to the Commissioner’s ruling that they ruled that the claimant should not be reimbursed for the traveling expenses with regards to the medical treatments that they ordered.

The claimant point out that worker receiving vocational rehabilitation benefits is entitled to reimbursement for mileage expenses for going to and from rehab vendors and counselors. The employers have to pay expenses due to vocational rehabilitation services or assessment.

Workers’ Compensation public policy like in R and T Const. Co v. Judge, 323 Md.514, 531, 594 A.2d 99, 108 (1991) a quadriplegic requires transportation to and from his doctor’s office for medical treatment that States would allow under workers compensation statute to cover transportation expenses to and from a destination to seek hospital and medical treatment. Here, at the time that this was decided the employer was responsible for vocational rehabilitation expenses and the claimant’s attorney is using this rational or logic to justify that the employer should be responsible for transportation expenses.

The court reasoned that such an obligation exists for vocational rehabilitation services and then it should be an obligation in connection to medical treatment as well. It is a public policy of the Act to provide medical treatment during the time that is necessary for the claimant.

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