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Employer on the Hook for Ruptured Breast Implant

(CN) - A Florida appeals court allowed a female worker to recover the full costs of repairing an "aged" breast implant that ruptured during a workplace accident.

Pamela Mullins partially ruptured her right saline breast implant in an unspecified accident.

She filed a compensation claim, and a judge founder her employers, 7-Eleven and Sedgwick CMS, liable for only 25 percent of the repair costs, citing the "aged condition" of the implant.

The liability rates had been established by an independent medical examiner, who determined that 75 percent of the rupture had been caused by the aged or defective implant.

The 1st District Court of Appeal agreed that Mullins should be reimbursed for the injury, because breast implants fall under the same category as eyeglasses, prosthetic devices and artificial limbs.

The court rejected the claim that Mullins couldn't recover the costs, because she had her breasts augmented for cosmetic purposes and not to replace a missing or defective body part. However, the appeals court noted that the law's definition of prosthetics includes other devices that serve only cosmetic purposes.

The court also shelved the notion that Mullins' employers were liable for only a portion of the bill based on the age of her implants.

"Here, (Mullins) is not alleged to have a pre-existing disease, anomaly, or medical diagnosis," the ruling states. "[R]ather, it is her prosthetic breast implants that are alleged to have the pre-existing condition of being aged."

The court reversed the order apportioning out 75 percent of the repair costs.

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