Injured a second time after a Workers Comp accident can jeopardize benefits

“prejudice” the employer.  They can claim “prejudice,” because they cannot then get their money back for what they have paid for medical treatment, wage loss, etc. for their injured employee.

When a worker settles her subsequent injury case without the permission of the workers compensation insurer, and the workers comp carrier has paid for medical care, time loss or other benefits, the disabled employee will likely forfeit future Workers’ Compensation benefits.  Where the employer is not prejudiced because the second injury does not increase the employer’s obligation to pay additional medical bills or weekly compensation, no forfeiture results.

As an example, Jane Doe injures her lower back catching a falling crate at work, and is excused from work while recovering from spine surgery.  Then, at “Back to School” night another parent accidentally cuts her finger off with a paper cutter.  Jane could probably probably settle the severed finger case without jeopardizing her comp benefits from the on the job back injury, since  the medical care is unrelated and she was already on “off work” status after the surgery on her lumbar spine.  However, if Jane gets a an infection as the result of a botched post-operative epidural injection, she could bring a “third party” negligence claim against the physician, but she could not settle that case without the worker comp insurer, since it is related to the care for her compensation injury and its aftermath.  In cases such as theses, where there may be more than one claim affecting an individual or family, it is important to have experienced legal counsel.  Make sure that you have experienced workers compensation counsel for your Virginia, Maryland or Washington DC comp claim.

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