One of the common misconceptions, when you’ve been hurt on the job, is that you can only receive benefits for injuries directly caused by the accident, that your injuries must be substantial, and that they must be obvious. To the contrary, there are times when a seemingly insignificant work-related injury can lead to more serious health problems, ones not directly caused by the accident, but which would not have developed if the accident had never occurred. These are known as “consequential injuries” and will qualify you for workers’ compensation benefits.
Understanding Consequential Injuries
A consequential injury is one that is not directly caused by an accident, but which would not have happened “but for” the accident. Many consequential injuries involve soft tissue or connective tissue, including tendons, ligaments and muscles. For example, you may slip and fall on a slippery floor at work, twisting your ankle. The twisted ankle readily apparent—it may be swollen and you may even see something on an x-ray.
However, you may change the way you walk because of the ankle sprain. Changing your gait may lead to muscle pain in other parts of your body, including your other leg, your lower back and your hips. If the pain or discomfort from those “consequential” injuries makes it difficult or impossible for you to work, you can seek workers’ compensation benefits for those injuries.
Another common “consequential injury” is infection. You may sustain lacerations or abrasions in a work accident, then develop infection in the area of the cut. If the infection prevents you from working, you can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits for the disability and any attendant medical expenses.
Contact Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie, Seelaus & Kraft LLP
At Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie, Seelaus & Kraft LLP, we have fought for the rights of individuals throughout Delaware County since 1980. We offer a free initial consultation. To schedule an appointment, call us at 610-565-4055 or 302-594-4535 or contact us online.