I mentioned “consequential injuries” in my recent post on why you need representation in your Workers’ Comp. case. A consequential injury is an injury that occurs as a consequence of the original work related injury. In other words, the consequential injury is a new and separate injury that is caused by the original injury.
For example, let’s say someone develops tendonitis in one arm because of work. The injury to that arm, the bad arm, is covered by comp because that injury was caused by work. But let’s say that person continues to work and uses the uninjured arm, the good arm, more so as to rest the bad arm. After a period of time, that person begins having problems with the previously uninjured good arm because of overuse. The overuse injury to the previously uninjured arm is a consequential injury and it too is covered by comp. Hope that makes sense: )
Consequential injuries come in many varieties from the obvious to subtle. For instance, consequential depression is not at all uncommon. Some of our clients suffer consequential depression because of they are depressed by having to deal with their disability, their pain, and the economic problems often caused by being out of work for long periods of time.
A recent study of chronic pain patients revealed that people in chronic pain demonstrate huge differences in brain activity on brain scans as compared to people who do not have chronic pain. This difference in brain activity may explain why persons with chronic pain have a higher incidence of depression and other problems. Part of the take away of that study is that if you have chronic pain and you’re experiencing depression, it’s not your fault. It’s a chemical consequence of your original injury and you need help. I would suggest that you need medical and legal help.
Consequential injuries make things more difficult for folks representing themselves for two reasons: 1) you have another injury (pretty much speaks for itself); and 2) a consequential injury raises the ante for the insurance company. As I have said, insurance companies don’t make money by writing checks. Insurance companies make money by denying or delaying your care.
If you have a work related injury, don’t go it alone. Please come back for my next post on Workers’ Comp. in which I will discuss talking with investigators and other pitfalls.
Thanks for reading,
James B. Reed
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff Law Firm
303 William Street
Elmira, NY 14902