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Home / Courts / Workers’ Compensation – Death Benefits – Cause of Death – Drug Overdose – Independent Intervening Cause

Workers’ Compensation – Death Benefits – Cause of Death – Drug Overdose – Independent Intervening Cause

Stout v. Pete Wall Plumbing (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-08-0250, 21 pp.) (Danny Lee McDonald, Commissioner) (Christopher Scott, Commissioner, dissenting without a written opinion) Appealed from Opinion & Award of Deputy Commissioner Bradley W. Houser. I.C. No. 895147.

Holding: Plaintiff’s decedent’s death was caused by an overdose of pain medication, some of which was prescribed to alleviate the pain from his compensable back injury. Plaintiff’s overuse of these medications was based on an intentional, although tragically misguided determination that such a repeated course of action would not produce the result that it ultimately did.

We affirm the deputy commissioner’s denial of death benefits. The decedent’s widow is entitled to benefits for the 10 percent permanent disability to the decedent’s back, assigned before his death.


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