What are ‘compensable consequences’?

Will I be covered by workers’ compensation if a work injury causes an injury to another part of my body? It’s possible.

Many times, when a person suffers a work-related injury, additional injuries may develop in the future. For example, an injured worker who falls and sustains an injury to his or her left knee may develop future problems with the right knee. The right knee problem develops due to compensating for the injured left knee. The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission has found these additional injuries to be “compensable consequences” of the original work injury. Compensable consequences of an original work injury are covered by workers’ compensation benefits.  

With compensable consequence injuries, it does not matter where you sustain the additional injury. If your work-related injury requires you to use crutches, and you fall at home while using those crutches, any injuries sustained in that fall at home are covered by worker’s compensation. If the injured worker can show that the subsequent injury flows from the original work injury and is a direct and natural result of the primary injury, the subsequent injury is covered.[1]

compensabel consequences

What Are Some Example of Compensable Consequence Injuries?

Examples of compensable consequence injuries include:

·         A worker injures his or her back in a work-related accident. The back injury then causes the person to limp, leading to an injury of the right knee. The right knee injury will be covered by workers’ compensation if a doctor relates the right knee injury to the limp caused by the back injury.

·         An injured worker is involved in a motor vehicle accident while traveling to a medical appointment for the original work injuries. Any injuries sustained in that motor vehicle accident are covered by workers’ compensation.

·         An employee undergoes treatment for a left knee injury resulting from a work injury and the doctor breaches the standard of care, causing further injury to the left knee. The injuries caused by the doctor’s malpractice are covered by workers’ compensation.

·         An injured worker suffers from heatstroke resulting from heat exposure at work. The heatstroke then causes the employee to suffer a fatal heart attack. The death is deemed a compensable consequence of the work accident so long as a doctor relates the heart attack to the heatstroke.

·         A work accident causes a worker to develop depression, resulting in the worker’s death by suicide. The suicide is compensable if the original work-related injuries result in the employee becoming dominated by a disturbance of mind directly caused by his/her injury.[2]

These are just a few examples of compensable consequence injuries. These types of injuries can be difficult to navigate on your own. If you or someone you know has been injured on the job, call the Allen Law Firm or fill out our contact form here. We are here to help you get all the benefits to which you are entitled.

[1] Leonard v. Arnold, 218 Va. 210, 237 S.E.2d 97 (1977).

[2] Food Distributors v. Estate of Ball, 24 Va. App. 181, 480 S.E.2d 788 (1997).