If you are injured at work and receiving benefits, and you suffer a secondary injury, you may be covered. The key is if it's related to your first injury, not whether it happened at work. For example, if you break your leg and have to use crutches, and you get an elbow injury from the crutches, you should be covered for that injury as well. The elbow injury would not have happened if you hadn't broken your leg at work. They are related. If your work injury requires heavy pain medication and you suffer side effects, your side effects should be covered because they are related to and caused by your original injury. These secondary injuries would be part of the same workers' compensation claim because they arose out of the same incident.
Completely separate injury
If you are on workers' compensation for carpal tunnel syndrome and are recovering at home after surgery when you slip and fall, your injury probably isn't covered under your claim. It didn't happen on the job, and it wasn't caused by your wrist injury. However, if you were at work when you fell, you could file a new claim. It's unrelated, but a legitimate claim on its own.
Re-injured after recovery
If you are completely recovered or on light-duty and back at work, and you re-injure your back, this would be covered under your original claim. If your claim is closed, it can be reopened in some situations. In all of these examples, your claim may be denied. You can contest a denial by asking for a hearing. It's a good idea to hire an attorney to represent you when fighting a denied claim.
Additional resources provided by the author
If your employer or their insurance company tells you your injury isn't covered, don't take their word for it. Give us a call for a free consultation. If we think you need an attorney, we'll recommend someone with experience in your type of case. 1-800-517-1614.
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