Consequential Injuries May Be Covered Under Original Workers’ Compensation Claim
Mr. M had a work related left leg injury. He would go up and down the stairs using only his right leg. He could only sleep on his right side. He started using a cane on his right or “good” side to relieve the pressure and provide security against falls due to the imbalance his left leg injury had caused. Then his left shoulder started causing him pain. He had trouble buttoning his shirt and reaching for items in the kitchen cabinets. Just my luck, he thought, now I have gone and done something to my shoulder. After several months he was sitting with his lawyer discussing his workers’ compensation treatment for his left knee and he mentioned how it feels as if his body is falling apart. After a few strategic questions from his lawyer and a visit with his doctor it was determined that the shoulder was related to his original workers’ compensation injury to his left leg. The use of the cane caused additional pressure and strain on his shoulder. Mr. M was able to have covered workers’ compensation treatment and an additional monetary award due to the shoulder strain.
When Will The Insurance Company Cover My Secondary Injury?
Similar to Mr. M many injured workers’ do not realize that if their secondary injury is causally related to the initial accident then that consequential injury may be compensable. Consequential injuries are those injuries that occur directly as a result or consequence of an injury to a different body part. For example, if a compensable knee buckles and causes a fall, which injures a wrist the wrist injury could then be deemed compensable. It is important to document any of these consequential injuries whether at work or through a medical professional. Your attorney will work with you to gather the necessary medical documentation to prove that the injury is related to the original claim. Then a hearing in front of the commission may be required to prove causal relationship between the secondary injury and the original injury.
Can I File For a Consequential Injury At Any Time?
Since there are statutes which impose limitations on when claims can be filed for additional injuries it is best to alert your attorney as soon as possible. However, if the statute of limitations has run on earning additional compensation for the secondary injury it is still important to still talk to your doctor and your attorney about the injury. Even if you are not entitled to additional money, you could be entitled to coverage for medical expenses and mileage related to your consequential injury. It is always best to speak with your workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. Many times in my practice clients only reveal the consequential injury after the statute of limitations has run or once it has become unduly burdensome, however if we handled your original claim I will handle your consequential injury even if no additional money can be earned.