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How Non-Work-Related Injuries Can Impact a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Posted on December 29, 2020 | Firm News,Wage & Hour Laws,Workers Compensation

Filing for workers’ compensation after a work-related injury should be a relatively straightforward process. Unfortunately, it is all too common for people to encounter all types of unique and complex variables that interfere with their claim. In some cases, injuries that occur outside of work may influence workers’ compensation benefits received for a prior work-related injury.

It is very easy to feel overwhelmed and confused when investigating the statutes pertaining to workers’ compensation claims. An experienced Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney is a great resource if you are unsure how to proceed with your claim. If you have already secured workers’ compensation benefits for a work-related injury and then suffer additional injuries outside of work, talk with our firm. Your attorney can help you determine your best available legal options in the event your new injuries outside of work influence your workers’ compensation benefits.

Proving Job Availability in Workers’ Compensation Claims

For most employers, injured employees cost them money when they file for workers’ comp benefits. While employers have a legal obligation to handle these claims in good faith, some employers take adverse retaliatory actions against employees that file for workers’ compensation benefits. However, this happens infrequently, and it is far more likely for an employer to seek a technicality or other statute that allows them to suspend or cancel an employee’s benefits.

Typically, if an employer wishes to cancel or suspend an injured employee’s workers’ compensation benefits, they must prove two things. First, they must show that the employee has recovered all of their earning power. Second, they must show job availability, or that the injured employee’s job is still available. However, the caveat to this second item is the fact that an injured employee who is rendered unable to work due to an injury sustained outside of the workplace cannot return to their job, so there is no need for the employer to prove job availability.

 

Ultimately, it works out in an employer’s favor to keep an injured employee on and have them handle light duty if their condition allows it. While it may be more cost-effective for employers to work with their injured employees for mutual benefit, some do not realize this and try to cut corners wherever possible to save money on their workers’ compensation insurance premiums.

Can Non-Work-Related Injuries Change Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

If an injured employee sustains further injury outside of the workplace while already receiving workers’ compensation benefits from a prior work-related injury, it could change your benefits. It is natural to wonder whether the second injury will influence the number of benefits the injured employee receives. Ultimately, this will generally boil down to whether the second injury was caused or influenced by the first injury.

For example, if your work-related injury forced you to use crutches, then you suffer a slip-and-fall outside of work on your crutches, you could argue that any subsequent injuries were caused by the initial injury. A counterexample would be sustaining an injury to a completely different part of the body than the part injured during the first work-related injury. If the second injury does not impact the first, then the second injury will likely not influence the victim’s workers’ compensation benefits. An experienced Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer can help clarify these issues.

Taking Legal Action Beyond Workers’ Compensation

Navigating workers’ compensation claims and appeals can be incredibly challenging. In some cases, it may be necessary to explore legal options outside of the workers’ compensation system for the best possible recovery. An experienced Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney can potentially assist their client in this situation in two possible ways:

  1. The attorney can prove that the client’s new injury was caused by their prior work-related injury and assist the client in pursuing additional workers’ compensation benefits with an appeal.
  2. The attorney can identify parties responsible for the client’s new injury and explore alternative legal avenues to compensation, such as a personal injury claim.

Ultimately, every workers’ compensation case is entirely unique. There are thousands of possible variables that might come into play during workers’ compensation claim determinations.

Why Do I Need an Attorney?

The workers’ compensation system in California is notoriously complex. Suffering an injury that worsens a previous work-related injury can significantly complicate any workers’ compensation claim. Hiring an experienced Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney is the best way to ensure the most complete recovery possible.

At the Law Office of Omid Nosrati, we understand how challenging it can be to navigate complex workers’ compensation issues while recovering from multiple injuries. If you have concerns about how a recent non-work-related injury might influence your workers’ compensation benefits, contact the Law Office of Omid Nosrati and schedule a consultation with an experienced and reliable Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney.

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