People who suffer work-related injuries are usually eager to recover so they can return to work. But unfortunately, many injured workers sustain consequential injuries that delay their recovery. If you have suffered a consequential injury, it’s important to understand your right to workers’ compensation benefits.
What is a Consequential Injury?
A consequential injury is an injury that occurs as a result of a work-related injury. For example, if you suffer a work-related knee injury, you may start to limp in order to avoid pain. This slight change to the way you carry your weight could cause lower back or hip injuries. In this example, the lower back and hip injuries would be consequential injuries since they occurred as a result of the initial work-related knee injury.
Are You Entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits For Consequential Injuries?
Injured workers who are unable to perform any type of work due to their injuries are entitled to temporary total disability benefits through the workers’ compensation system. These benefits are typically awarded for a period of 156 weeks[CV1] [MS2] , however, there is an exception in cases where the victim has suffered a consequential injury. If you have suffered a consequential injury, you may need more than 156 weeks to reach maximum medical improvement. In this case, an administrative law judge can extend temporary total disability benefits for up to 52 additional weeks. This ensures you have enough time to recover from both your initial work-related injury and consequential injuries.
Are Mental Illnesses Considered Consequential Injuries?
Some consequential injuries are mental rather than physical. For example, if you sustain a severe work-related injury, you may not be able to engage in your favorite activities or live independently while you recover. These major lifestyle changes can lead to mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression. Because the mental illness occurred as a result of the initial work-related injury, it is considered a consequential injury.
How to Obtain Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Consequential Injuries
To obtain benefits, you must show proof that your consequential injury is directly related to your initial work-related injury. Your physician must confirm that the mental or physical consequential injury was caused by your work-related injury and would not have occurred if you had not already been injured at work. If you cannot establish this link between the initial injury and consequential injury, you will not receive benefits for your consequential injury.
Have you suffered another injury while recovering from your work-related injury? If so, seek legal representation from the attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. right away. Let our attorneys handle every aspect of your workers’ compensation claim so you can focus solely on recovering from your injuries. 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.