If you suffer an intervening injury or illness while receiving work comp benefits for a work-related injury, the insurance company may try to stop your benefits.
When a workplace injury leaves a person unable to work, workers compensation benefits cover the medical expenses and a part of wage loss. While the workplace accident is well documented, and a worker may not have any problems qualifying for the workers compensation benefits, the insurance companies are often looking for ways to stop paying the benefits. This happens because the ultimate goal of the insurance company is to make profit, and each penny they save by not paying an injured worker adds to their profits.
Insurance companies are always looking for signs that you no longer need treatment, and that you can return to work. Therefore, if you suffer another injury or develop an illness while you are receiving workers compensation benefits, your benefits could be stopped with little warning. In this article, we will explain how an intervening injury or illness can affect your workers compensation benefits.
Intervening Injuries and Workers Compensation
The workers compensation benefits you are receiving are intended to be used for the treatment of the injury or illness you suffered as a result of the workplace conditions. In case you suffer an injury or are diagnosed with an illness that is not related to the workplace injury, your workers compensation benefits will not cover the treatment cost. For this reason, benefits are often automatically stopped when the insurance company learns of the new injury or illness. This can happen in several ways including:
- You stop treatment for the original workplace injury due to a new injury or illness
- Your doctor orders you to stop working due to the new injury or illness
- Your employer uses your new injury or illness as an excuse to stop paying the benefits
It is important to understand that there are situations when you can continue to receive workers compensation benefits despite a new, non-work related injury or illness.
Situations When Benefits May Continue
It is not uncommon for a worker to suffer an additional injury while still receiving workers compensation benefits. In fact, sometimes these injuries are caused by conditions and weakness created by the original injury. This kind of injury is known as a dependent injury, and it cannot be used as grounds to stop paying workers compensation benefits. For example, if you fall from the stairs in your home due to excessive weakness caused by the workplace injury or drowsiness caused by the heavy dosage of medications, you may still be able to receive workers compensation benefits.
If you suffer an injury or illness that is not at all related to your original workplace injury, workers compensation will not cover any expenses related to this new injury. However, this should not lead to complete cancellation of your workers compensation benefits. While the benefits will not cover any expenses related to the new injury, they should continue to cover the expenses related to the original injury.
St. Louis Workers Comp Attorney
If you find yourself in a situation where you have to struggle to get the benefits that you rightfully deserve, contact the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann by calling (314) 361-4300 or by filling out our online contact form. When we take your case, we make recovering benefits for you our priority, and we put decades of experience, a proven record of success and a client focused approach behind your workers’ compensation case.