Compensable injuries in a workplace are injuries that occur while on the job or at the workplace that are subject to compensation, in this case, workers’ compensation. Consequently, non-compensable injuries are those that are not eligible for workers’ compensation. Thus, compensable consequences are secondary ramifications of a primary, compensable injury.
What Is a Compensable Consequence?
California courts define a compensable consequence as a new or distinct injury that is, in fact, a direct and natural result of another work-related injury. An example of a compensable consequence is an injury that develops over time due to the stress of a primary work-related injury. An example would be a worker having to perform a repeated hand motion for so many years that it becomes difficult to use their hand. The over-stressed hand eventually develops carpal tunnel and/or arthritis. That is further worsened over time after continuing to work in the same capacity with the same repeated stress on the injury. Some other examples of compensable consequences are below.
A work-related fall leads to long-term back pain, a herniated disc, or spinal stenosis.
A physical work-related injury, such as a traumatic brain injury, leads to mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression.
A work-related chemical exposure causes a worker to develop respiratory problems, such as asthma.
A person who endures long-term driving for their job gets a blood clot from sitting and driving for hours on end.
A work-related traumatic event causes the employee to develop post-traumatic stress disorder, which leads to depression, anxiety, and other debilitating disorders.
Proving a Compensable Consequence
State law clearly describes a compensable injury as:
A specific workplace injury that occurs once
Cumulative injuries that occur over time due to repeated stress or trauma related to job duties
Thus, not all workers’ compensation claims end with a settlement, and there is no statute that directly addresses compensable consequences of work-related injuries. The precedent case, though, in 1994 provides an instructive definition for consequences that are the result of a work-related injury. It explains that a secondary injury may be new or distinct, but it is actually the result of a prior primary injury that occurred due to a workplace incident. Thus, the key to determining whether a secondary injury would be covered under workers’ compensation is to prove that it is a direct and natural consequence of the primary incident. In other words, the secondary injury would not have occurred at all if it weren’t for the work-related initial incident.
How Can an Attorney Help in a Situation of Compensable Consequences?
The top priority of a qualified workers’ compensation attorney is to protect their client’s rights. The second most important thing a workers’ compensation lawyer can do for you, if you’re suffering from a secondary injury that was a result of a primary injury, is to help plan a strategy for your case so that you can get a favorable outcome and all the benefits you are owed. An attorney can advocate for you and gather the necessary information to support your claim as well as help you organize deadlines, court dates, and other important dates in the timeline of your case. When the time comes, an attorney can represent you before a judge and litigate on your behalf. Often, an attorney may be able to provide you with additional information regarding other benefits you may be eligible for. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer is knowledgeable about the laws that pertain to your case and can ultimately help you get the most out of your claim.
An experienced and skillful workers’ compensation attorney has represented clients in cases that successfully proved that an injury was a consequence of a primary workplace incident. Having such an attorney is the most likely way to get a claim for these types of injuries accepted.
Q: What Are the Consequences of Workplace Injuries?
A: The consequences of workplace injuries are far more influential than you might think. Not only do they have an impact on overall business and productivity, but they can even extend to:
Loss of reputation for the brand
Loss of motivation for staff
If they are severe enough, they can even result in a business closing. This is why it is so important to practice safety in the workplace and to make sure all working conditions can cause no immediate threat or danger to the workers. That way, they can perform their job without injury and productivity can remain continuous.
Q: What Qualifies as a Compensable Injury Under Workers’ Compensation Coverage?
A:An injury qualifies as compensable under workers’ compensation if the injury occurred:
To an employee of the company where the injury occurred
During the course of active employment, on the job site or at their place of employment
While they were on the clock
Amid performing their job duties
They also must result in loss or impairment of wages.
Q: What Must the Injured Employee Prove for an Injury to Be Compensable Under Workers’ Compensation?
A: For a compensable injury to be covered under workers’ compensation, the injured employee must prove that the injury was a result of their employment and occurred during the course of employment. They may also need to refute any allegations that they were:
Violating company protocol, policy, or procedure
Under the influence of drugs and alcohol
Breaking any laws at the time the injury occurred
Q: What Must the Injured Employee Prove for a Consequence to Be Compensable Under Workers’ Compensation?
A: An employee suffering from a consequence of a primary work-related injury must prove that a secondary injury was a direct result of the first work-related injury for it to be considered compensable and covered under workers’ compensation. There must be a direct correlation between the two injuries, in that the second occurred only as a consequence of the first.
Contact English Lloyd & Armenta
If you are an employee of a company where you may have incurred a primary work-related injury that has caused you further harm or injury, whether physical or mental. If so, you might have a compensable consequence due to your secondary injury that qualifies for workers’ compensation. It can be difficult to prove these types of injuries on your own. Hiring a professional and experienced workers’ compensation attorney is the ideal strategy for a favorable outcome to your case.
The sooner you initiate a claim for a secondary workplace compensable consequence injury, the better the chances you have of obtaining the evidence and proof that your injury qualifies for compensation. Contact English Lloyd & Armenta today to discuss your case. We can help determine whether you have a workers’ compensation case for a compensable consequence of your previous work-related injury.