Most people think that if you are not at work, you cannot file for workers’ compensation if you suffer an injury. That makes perfect sense, but it’s not a cut and dry rule. For example, what if an original work injury was the cause of a subsequent injury that occurred off the clock? Could you be compensated for the secondary injury? That’s the question we’ll tackle in today’s blog on consequential injuries.
Consequential Injuries In Minnesota
Consequential injuries, as the name implies, are injuries that follow an initial injury. The Minnesota Department of Labor gets a little more specific in defining consequential injuries, classifying them as an “effect of the admitted workplace injury that causes, aggravates or contributes to a condition.” Consequential injuries first came to light in Minnesota in 1961 when the court case Eide v. Whirlpool Seeger Corp., which held that subsequent medical care could be compensated for if it came as a natural consequence of an injury that occurred while on the job, even if the secondary injury happened off the clock.
However, proving that the consequential injury was directly related to the initial work injury is a little tougher. The Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals states that the work-related injury needs to be a “substantial contributing factor” to your secondary condition. This doesn’t mean that it has to be the only factor in play, but you’ll need to prove to the court that the initial injury played a large role in why the secondary condition occurred.
As you can see, this is where the expertise of a workers’ compensation attorney comes in handy. A work comp lawyer will be able to build a case to help prove that the on-the-job injury played a direct role in your secondary injury, and a strong case can make all the difference when you’re up against interpretive language like “substantial contributing factor.”
Examples Of A Compensable Consequential Injury Claim
Here are just a few examples of potential injuries that would likely be granted compensation under Minnesota’s consequential injury law:
- Rashes, bedsores or pressure ulcers from being hospitalized for your initial injury.
- An injury that occurs at physical therapy that was ordered as rehab for your first injury.
- A car accident that makes an initial workers’ compensation injury worse.
- Injuries suffered from assistive devices like crutches or a wheelchair that were necessary because of the initial injury.
- Injuries to the opposite side of your body because you were compensating for weakness on the other side of your body that was the result of the initial work injury.
This isn’t a full list by any means, but it serves the purpose of illustrating how a non-work injury can be compensable under workers’ compensation laws. If you think any of the above information sounds like something you’ve experienced, contact Dean Margolis today for a case evaluation.