Consequences Matter: Claiming Consequential Injuries
Imagine circumstances where a worker sustains injury to their right knee. The injury is severe and requires a knee replacement. Many years pass and the worker favours his left knee because of the pain and restriction in his right knee. The left knee starts to present problems.
Often it is not clear that injuries may be related; perhaps the injuries appear too far removed from one another, or perhaps a significant period of time has lapsed and it is unclear that a connection may exist.
The legal concept of 'causation' provides that if an injury is caused by an accident (or event) then that injury is related and a person may be eligible to receive compensation. The same theory applies to an injury caused by an earlier injury as long as it can be related to the initial accident or event. This is called 'the chain of causation'.
A consequential injury may be compensable if the 'chain of causation' can be shown by medical evidence.
Turning to the example above, if a doctor provides an opinion that the left knee injury has been caused because of over-reliance following injury to their right knee, then the chain of causation is unbroken and it is likely that the second injury can be included in the claim.
However, if the second injury is caused by an event unrelated to the initial event, then the 'chain' is considered to be broken and the further injury cannot be included in the claim. For example, if the left knee injury arose as a result of a fall at work that was unrelated to the first incident involving the right knee, then the injuries would not be considered consequential.
It is, therefore, important to consider the possibility that injuries are related and caused as a consequence of the other.
Other examples of consequential injuries may include where:
- a physical injury causes a person to walk differently, which may place added strain on other body parts and cause other injuries;
- a physical injury leads to psychological injuries such as depression or anxiety.
Treating medical practitioners should always be the first point of contact for these questions. It is important to ensure that your treating practitioner is fully aware of your medical history, which will enable them to establish links between injuries.
It is also important to ensure that your complaints of possible consequential injuries and symptoms are raised with your doctor without delay. This will allow historical medical records to accurately reflect your complaints which may be used at a later time to demonstrate 'causation' for the consequential injuries.
If a treating doctor does believe an injury is consequential, then a personal injury solicitor may be able to assist in making a claim for compensation.
Have you been injured or do you have a question about a consequential injury? You can contact us. We'll be able to help you via a quick phone call, ask us a question via email or even chatting with you online.