What Is an “Intervening Injury”?
For Virginia Workers Compensation purposes, an intervening injury could be anything that happened after your work injury.
For example, if you have a back injury at work that workers’ compensation is covering and then you have a car accident, which event is causing the back pain – the work injury or the car accident? AND even if you say the car accident had no effect on your back, what will the doctor say?
Intervening Injuries and Workers’ Compensation
So many times I have injured workers call my office confused because they were receiving benefits for a work injury but then something else happened (car accident, fall, heart attack, or other medical situations) that takes them out of work or stops their treatment and their workers’ compensation benefits get cut off. If the doctor has you off of work for anything other than the work injury, workers’ compensation will not pay you for this lost time. Also, if you have another injury to the same part of your body that was injured by the work accident OR if your new injury or illness prevents you from getting treatment for the work injury, the insurance carrier could potentially stop paying for your medical care (depending on what the doctor says is causing your current problems). Bottom Line: The workers’ compensation insurance company is not responsible for any lost time or medical care or delay in medical care that is not a result of the work injury.
The Issue with Intervening Injuries
Intervening injures are a HUGE problem in the workers’ compensation world. If you have been involved in a work injury, you need to be extra careful so that you are not involved in any intervening accidents or injuries. Obviously, things like cancer, heart attacks, or car accidents can’t always be prevented. However, if you have suffered one of these or something similar, you may need to talk to an attorney right away to ensure you are taking all of the steps possible to prevent your lost wage benefits from being terminated.
If you would like more information on the Virginia workers’ compensation system, order my book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia,” or call our office today (804) 755-7755.