When it comes to workers’ compensation claims, not everything is as simple as it seems, especially when companies bring up the tricky topic of “causation”. In any workers’ comp case, you generally have to prove that your injury resulted from your work or at your job. If you are a construction worker and were hit by falling debris on a worksite, it is relatively easy to prove that your injury is job-related. However, if you have a pre-existing condition, for example, the insurance company might say that some of your pain and medical bills were caused by that and try to reduce your payment amount. If you sustain an injury that is partially work-related, things get even more complicated.
One case that recently came thorough the Illinois Appellate Court involved just such a situation. The case was filed by a truck driver who developed a blister on his foot from using the pedals of his truck. The driver then lanced the blister himself, which caused an infection with subsequently caused him to lose a toe due to complications from diabetes. In this case, the original injury was work-related, and it did eventually result in an injury serious enough to warrant a workers’ comp claim. The issue, however, is that the driver’s own actions, which were not work-related, made the injury worse.
Causation Can Make or Break a Workers’ Comp Claim
Cases like the one concerning the Illinois truck driver can get incredibly complicated. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission initially denied his claim, saying that he caused the infection that led to the amputation. However, it can be argued that he would not have caused the infection if he had not developed the blister from doing his job. Like a playground argument, a case like this can keep going around and around in circles. Which is exactly what happened, since a county court initially ruled against the driver, only to have its decision reversed in the appellate court. The case has now been sent back to the Workers’ Compensation Commission for a new hearing, which could start everything over again.
In order to prove causation in a workers’ comp claim, it is important that you report any accidents and injuries to your employer promptly, and get witness statements if possible. A doctor’s testimony is often one of the most important deciding factors when determining causation, which can be a problem in Missouri, where your employer is allowed to choose your care provider. In Illinois, you generally must see an approved provider, but may choose between them at your own discretion. When in doubt, contact a local personal injury attorney who can investigate and fight on your behalf.
Our personal injury lawyers in Missouri and Illinois have decades of experience helping workers get fair compensation when they are involved in a workplace accident. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation. The information provided by Walton Telken, LLC in this Blog is not intended to be legal advice, but merely provides general information related to common legal issues. This Blog, and the information contained within it, is Attorney Advertisement. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.