The workers’ compensation system is designed to provide benefits to workers that sustain work-related injuries. But, what about an injury that occurs as a result of the work-related injury? Does the system provide benefits for a consequential injury?
What is a Consequential Injury?
A consequential injury is one that occurs as a direct result of a work-related injury. For example, let’s say you injure your knee while working and the injury forces you to make slight adjustments to the positioning of your body while you walk. Over time, the altered walking position could lead to back or leg injuries. These injuries would not have happened if you had not sustained the work-related knee injury, which means they are considered consequential injuries.
Another common example involves work-related foot injuries. If you fall as a result of a work-related foot injury, the injuries sustained in the fall could be classified as consequential injuries. Foot injuries typically increase your risk of falling, so you would not have sustained the fall injuries if you had not sustained the work-related foot injury first.
Recovering Workers’ Compensation Benefits For Consequential Injuries
Temporary total disability benefits are paid to injured workers who cannot perform their job duties or any other alternative work offered by their employer. In most cases, these benefits are awarded for a maximum of 104 weeks. But, in the event of a consequential injury, the payments may continue for up to 52 additional weeks if the injured worker needs more time to reach maximum medical improvement.
The Workers’ Compensation Commission will not take your word for it when it comes to consequential injuries--they will need to see proof of the injury before granting this extension. The injured worker must show clear and convincing medical evidence that the consequential injury occurred as a result of the work-related injury. The medical evidence should also convince the Commission that treatment is absolutely necessary for the consequential injury. Furthermore, it must be proven that the injured worker needs the extension of benefits in order to reach their maximum medical improvement. This is important since there’s no reason to extend the benefits if the consequential injury heals well before the standard 104-week time period is over.
Have you suffered a work-related injury? If so, Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. is here to help. Let our experienced attorneys assist you through the workers’ compensation application process to ensure you recover the benefits you are entitled to by law. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.