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Sequelae of Injuries: Compensable Injuries Go Beyond Those Suffered at the Time of the Accident

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2018 | Personal Injury, Worker's Compensation

If you’re injured on the job in Council Bluffs or any other location in Iowa, whatever harm has been done may cause other, later harm. If there’s a link between the immediate and the subsequent injuries you could collect compensation for the combination of both. Your employer or its insurance company may be reluctant to go beyond benefits for injuries that didn’t happen on the worksite, during the time you were at work, so help from an attorney may be critical to obtaining these benefits.

Under Iowa workers compensation law an “injury” is defined broadly as any health impairment other than the normal building up and tearing down of body tissues.  The health impairment must be a result of employment activities.

Later, related injuries covered by workers compensation

If there’s a question about whether there should be compensation benefits for a subsequent injury or the worsening of an existing injury related in some way to the primary injury during work, the issue is whether the subsequent injuries or aggravations are “direct and natural” results of the primary injury.

The Iowa Supreme Court has stated that if an employee has a compensable injury and later suffers a further disability which is the result of the original injury, that additional disability is compensable.  If the worker has a compensable injury, comes back to work and the first injury is worsened and the harm is greater than before, the entire disability may be compensable.

When it comes to these “sequela” injuries the employer is liable for all the consequences that naturally and proximately (or legally) flow from the original, compensable injury. If the primary injury is shown to have happened in the course of employment, every natural consequence that flows from the injury is also related to the employment.

Compensable, subsequent injuries could be,

  • Infections occurring during treatment,
  • Injuries to a limb or hand due to its overuse because of a work related injury to the opposite limb or hand,
  • Injuries caused by falls due to balance or weakness problems resulting from the primary injury, and
  • Lower back problems due to walking improperly as the result of a leg injury.

Denials by employers and insurance companies

If you suffer later harm because of the workplace injuries and seek compensation, don’t be surprised if your employer or its insurance company denies your claim. They will want to avoid as much liability as possible and may claim that the later injuries are your fault or due to negligence of another party. Your physician and health care professionals will need to fully document your original and subsequent injuries so there’s a sufficient record to show a connection.

It will also help to have an attorney argue your side of the story who can explain the details of your condition in a way that will establish that not only the primary injury, but later, related injuries, qualify for benefits.

Contacting a Lawyer

The Telpner Peterson Law Firm, in Council Bluffs, Iowa, represents employees who have suffered workplace injuries in Iowa or Nebraska. Be aware that a workers’ compensation insurer may deny, delay or undervalue your case for many reasons, including disregarding later, related injuries. Our principle workers compensation attorney, Walter Thomas, stands up for you so that you get the maximum benefits under law.

To discuss your case, learn the potential compensation from your claim, and learn the options to obtain workers’ compensation benefits, schedule a complimentary consultation with our Council Bluffs office. Simply call 712-309-3738 or contact Telpner Peterson Law Firm online.