In 2018, NCCI's Legal Division began providing reports on workers compensation (WC)-related cases that could impact and shape the future of the industry. To date, we have reported on nearly
200 cases and decisions addressing important topics such as exclusive remedy, marijuana, air ambulance reimbursement, challenges to the use of third-party guides, and most recently, COVID-19. This Court Case Update Retrospective: 2018–2021 provides a breakdown of the WC-related topics that courts have addressed in those nearly 200 cases, and an overview of the cases reported on in 2021.
For more information on the cases monitored by NCCI’s Legal Division, visit previous
Court Case Update editions, featured in the
Legal section of
Workers Compensation Insights on
In 2020, NCCI began providing its stakeholders with an overview of COVID-19-related cases with potential implications for WC insurance. Many of these cases have dealt with determinations of whether contraction of COVID-19 is work-related and therefore compensable, or the application of exclusive remedy where employees contract COVID-19 and sue their employers in tort.
To date, we have reported on
22 COVID-19-related cases in
11 states, including
In 2021, NCCI reported on the following COVID-19-related cases:
Challenges to the constitutionality and scope of exclusive remedy—providing employer immunity from injured employee tort suits—has been a hot topic among WC stakeholders and in the courts for several years. Courts have addressed issues such as the constitutionality of exclusive remedy protections, the applicability of exclusive remedy to foreign employees, minors, general contractors, and the scope of exclusive remedy exceptions, among others.
To date, NCCI has reported on
27 exclusive remedy cases, decided by courts across
18 states, including:
In 2021, NCCI reported on the following exclusive remedy-related cases:
Challenges to Third-Party Guides (AMA/ODG)
Since the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s 2017 decision striking the statutory use of the “most recent edition” of the
American Medical Association (AMA) Guides in
Protz v. Workers Compensation Appeals Board, legal challenges to the
AMA Guides and other third-party guides used to aid in the administration of the WC system have continued to garner stakeholder interest.
To date, NCCI has reported on 11 cases addressing challenges to third-party guides in states such as
Last year, NCCI reported on the following cases addressing third-party guides:
Marijuana legalization has been a hot topic for some time, as courts have been actively reviewing marijuana-related issues in WC and the workplace. Issues reviewed by the courts have covered a wide range of topics including reimbursement for marijuana as a WC treatment, statutory presumptions, questions of compensability related to injuries caused by intoxication, drug testing requirements for state-authorized medical marijuana users, and employment-related decisions involving authorized medical marijuana users.
Since 2018, NCCI has reported on 29 marijuana-related cases, with varying outcomes across 16 states:
2021 cases on marijuana in WC:
Air Ambulance Reimbursement
Courts have been reviewing cases addressing whether state WC laws limiting air ambulance billing rates are preempted by the federal Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 (ADA).
Since 2018, NCCI has reported on
8 air ambulance cases decided by federal and state courts in
6 states, including
2021 air ambulance cases:
Courts have reviewed questions related to attorney fees in WC cases. Some of these cases have raised constitutional challenges to WC statutes that govern the payment of attorney fees in WC.
Since 2018, NCCI has reported on
13 attorney fees cases that have been decided by courts in
9 states, including
In 2021, NCCI reported on the following attorney fees case:
Additional State and Federal Developments
State and federal courts continue to consider cases that test the constitutionality of or raise issues that could impact the WC system.
For nearly 4 years, NCCI has reported on
97 cases from a wide variety of states where courts have considered issues surrounding compensability, impacts on benefits, and other topics such as subrogation, independent contractors, or traveling employees.
Here is an overview of state and federal cases reported in 2021:
State Cases (by geographic zone)
Arkansas—Statute of Limitations for Benefits,
Wynne v. Liberty Trailer (Arkansas Court of Appeals)
Arkansas—Employer’s Requirement to Prove Bona Fide Job Offer,
Calhoun v. Area Agency on Aging of Southeast Arkansas (Supreme Court of Arkansas)
Florida—Time for Filing a Notice of Claim for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),
Palm Beach County Fire Rescue v. Wilkes (Florida First District Court of Appeal)
Kentucky—Constitutional Challenge to WC Statute,
Dowell v. Matthews Contracting (Kentucky Supreme Court)
Kentucky—Deadline to Submit Medical Bills,
Wonderfoil v. Russell (Kentucky Supreme Court)
Kentucky—Interest Rate on Income Benefits,
Martin v. Warrior Coal LLC (Kentucky Supreme Court)
Louisiana—Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing in WC,
Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson, LLC v. Louisiana Workers Compensation Corp. (Louisiana Supreme Court)
Louisiana—PPD for Noise Induced Hearing Loss,
Hartman v. St. Bernard Parish Fire Dept. (Supreme Court of Louisiana)
Mississippi—Bad Faith Lawsuit,
Thornhill v. Walker-Hill Environmental (Mississippi Court of Appeals)
This article is provided solely as a reference tool to be used for informational purposes only. The information in this article shall not be construed or interpreted as providing legal or any other advice. Use of this article for any purpose other than as set forth herein is strictly prohibited.