So you’ve been hurt at work—maybe you sprained your left knee unloading a truck—and you seek medical care for the knee sprain. Because of the pain and stiffness in your left knee, you naturally favor the left leg, putting additional stress on the right side of your body. Your knee gets better, but a couple weeks later, you wake up to terrible pain in your right heel. Your doctor diagnoses it as a heel spur, the result of changing your gait because of the injury to your left knee. Can you file for workers’ compensation benefits if the pain from the heel spur makes it impossible to do your job?

What we’re talking about here is what the law refers to as a “consequential” injury, i.e., one that is not immediately caused by a work accident, but arises only because of your work injury. Under workers’ compensation laws you have a right to file a claim for any injuries that can be shown to have “reasonably” been the result of a work-related injury. If you can bring in medical evidence to show that a subsequent injury (here, the heel spur) would not have happened “but for” the work accident, you can obtain workers’ compensation benefits for that injury.

Of course, the challenge, when an injury is not immediately apparent, is demonstrating that it resulted from the work accident. That’s one of the reasons it’s so important, when you see a doctor, to carefully describe everything that seems abnormal and to document every pain or injury. It’s a pretty common occurrence that injury to one part of the body will lead to overcompensation and injury somewhere else.

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At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to injured workers throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 856-200-8989.