Workers’ compensation benefits allow employees to pay their bills and get medical treatment after an accident on the job. While many employees are able to recover and return to work, some will suffer a secondary injury that sets their recovery back to square one.
Unfortunately, telling employees their secondary injuries don't qualify for payment is one of the many ways employers may deny valid injury claims.
In most cases, a secondary injury is covered under workers’ compensation and won't negatively affect benefits for your original injury.
When Are Secondary Injuries Covered by Workers’ Comp?
The workers' compensation system has a built-in principal known as the ''compensable consequence'' rule. If an injury occurs as a direct consequence of an original work injury that was covered by workers' comp, the subsequent injury is considered a related consequence, not a separate injury. Simply put, claimants won't have to reapply for benefits for injuries caused by the treatment or consequence of a covered injury.
Many conditions stemming from a work injury are covered by workers’ compensation, including:
- Surgery. If you're forced to undergo surgery to correct a work-related injury, any ill-effects of the surgery, such as infection or surgical errors, will be covered.
- Physical therapy injuries. If you suffer injury due to the effects of rehabilitation, such as tendonitis from an ill-fitting prosthetic or a fall during physical therapy, these injury costs should be covered.
- Medication injuries. Prescription medications can cause a variety of damages to patients, including overdose, chemical dependency, severe allergic reactions, or death. Since the patient wouldn't be taking these medications if he hadn't suffered a work injury, the effects of the medication may be considered part of the original injury.
- Depression or anxiety. Employers might determine emotional trauma is unrelated to the original injury, but mental effects are often connected to physical health. An attorney can help prove the link between your mental condition and your original work injury, allowing you to get the treatment you need.
The best way to prove your medical conditions are related is to speak to a work injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact the legal team at Johnson & Gilbert, P.A. today by filling out the quick contact form on this page, or order your free copy of our book, It’s Not Rocket Science, It’s Workers’ Comp, to learn more about your rights.