In a workers’ compensation case, it is critical that every body part and every condition that is causally related to an original work-related accident is brought up and documented as early as possible in the workers’ comp system. Any injury that is consequential to the original accident or injury is also covered under a workers’ compensation claim.
What is a Consequential Injury
Consequential injuries are something that many workers are not familiar with and therefore something that they often fail to report to their doctors. A consequential injury is any subsequent injury or condition that is causally related to the original injury.
For example, if you have injured your right leg, you may begin to favor your left leg. You will then be putting all of your weight and pressure on your left leg and because of this, you may begin to develop problems with that leg as well. The resulting condition of your left leg would be referred to as a consequential injury, being that it is a consequence of the original injury to your right leg.
In another example, if you sustain an injury to a hand or shoulder on one side of your body, you may be forced to overuse the hand or shoulder on the other side of your body, even in activities of daily living. Before you know, your other hand or shoulder may begin to give you difficulty as well. Similarly, if you have injured your hip and are now walking with a twisted or altered gate, you may develop back problems as a result.
Consequential injuries such as these are not difficult to ligate, however, they cannot be established unless you report them to your doctor and tell them how theses injuries have developed. If you fail to do so, you may lose treatment and benefits that you would have been entitled to receive.
Often your employer’s insurance provider will claim that what you consider to be a consequential injury, is actually due to some intervening cause that is unrelated to the original injury. This is most often the case when the second injury occurs outside of the performance of your job duties.
For example, if your workers’ compensation claim for a back strain has been accepted, and later at home, you tweak your back while carrying out the garbage or getting out of the tub, the insurance provider may classify this as an intervening injury and not compensable under your workers’ compensation claim.
However, unless it can be established that the incident at home was medically enough to cause the resulting condition and due to factors unrelated to the original accident (thus breaking the chain of causation), the resulting condition should be considered consequential to the original injury and covered under your workers’ compensation claim as well.
Contact an Experienced New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
All injuries or conditions that you think are related to your original work-related injury should be reported to your workers’ compensation doctor so that they can be included in your workers’ compensation claim. If you have any questions about a consequential injury or any other questions regarding a New Jersey workers’ compensation claim, call an experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer immediately.