Many workers often complain of secondary or consequential injuries however they are unaware that they could be linked to their initial workplace injury. In terms of workers compensation claims a consequential injury is an injury that occurs directly as a result of the initial work-related injury.
Examples of consequential injuries include:
- Overuse injuries when the original injury causes you to have to use another limb more;
- Injuries from physical therapy and treatment; or
- Gastrointestinal and/or urological problems issues that may arise from taking too much medication as a result of an injury.
It is important to note that under the workers compensation system psychological injuries cannot be claimed as consequential injuries. For example, if you sustain a physical injury to your back which causes you to suffer from anxiety and depression due to the affects that the injury has had on your quality of life it will not be claimable as a consequential injury. Psychological injuries under the workers compensation system are only claimable if they are a primary injury for example PTSD directly as a result of a workplace accident or even mental illness as a result of workplace bullying.
The team at Alliance Compensation and Litigation Lawyers recently settled a matter whereby the applicant worker had originally sustained an injury to his left shoulder and elbow due to the natures and conditions of his employment which included the repetitive assembling of cables and switches over a period of 14 years. The applicant stopped work after his injury however, approximately one year later the applicant began to complain of right shoulder pain. The applicant saw his treating doctor and underwent several scans for the treatment of his right shoulder. A dispute arose between the applicant and the respondent because the respondent was of the view that his right shoulder injury was not a consequential injury. However, it was later found that the applicant had complained of the right shoulder injury several times and that it was related to his initial workplace injury. The applicant was awarded 23% whole person impairment for his left shoulder, left elbow and right shoulder by an Approved Medical Specialist with all injuries accepted.
If you are an injured worker and you think you may have sustained a consequential injury you should firstly seek medical advice from your treating doctor. This initial step is quite important as it allows for medical records to reflect your symptoms which will be beneficial when claiming for a consequential injury. Often, it is necessary to establish that there is a casual relationship between the original injury and the consequential injury. Medical records can help immensely to establish the connection. If it is your doctor’s opinion s that the injury is consequential to your original injury, the insurer should be notified immediately.
If it is agreed by the insurer that the injury sustained is a consequential injury claims for weekly payments and medical treatment can be made for the consequential injury. the injured worker will also be able to make a lump sum compensation claim for both injuries.
Consequential injuries are not always straightforward. Many workers are unaware that their secondary injury relates to their initial workplace injury. The team at Alliance Compensation and Litigation Lawyers are here to advise you and to help you every step of the way. Please contact us for advice.