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Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin 1-866-900-7078

Will workers’ comp pay for new injuries that develop after my initial work injury?

“I injured my left knee at work, but now my right knee is hurting because I am putting more weight on it. Will workers’ compensation pay for treatment to my right knee?”

I guess some insurance company adjusters never learned the kids song, Dry Bones … “The foot bone’s connected to the leg bone…and the leg bone’s connected to the hip bone…”

While I mention this example in jest, there’s nothing to joke about when another part of your body starts hurting after your initial work injury. While this can happen quite often, just as often I have found that many insurance adjusters try to refuse to pay for medical treatment for other body parts that start hurting after the initial injury.

The good news is our experienced workers’ comp lawyers know how to try not to let them get away with this one-sided tactic.

Common Examples of Referred Pain

Referred pain is common. For example:

  • Joe injures his right foot. After using a cane for month or so, he starts having pain in the left hand from the pressure of leaning on the cane. Will the insurance company pay for left hand treatment?
  • After a shoulder injury, Mary starts feeling pain in her neck which radiates down her arm. Will the insurance company pay for her to have an MRI of her neck?
  • Martin hurts his knee at work. After a few months of limping, he starts having low back pain because of an altered gait. Is the insurance company going to pay for back treatment?

In each of these instances, my experience has been that some insurance companies will do everything they can to deny new treatment. Here’s why.

The majority of insurance companies are for-profit businesses. They may try very hard to pay as little as possible on claims because this is more money they get to keep. That is why when you report your work injury, you had better tell them about every single body part you injured. If you fail to mention a body part at the beginning of a claim, it can often be difficult to get the insurance company to pay for any medical treatment for it. (That is why we suggest injured workers to contact us immediately after an injury. We can help frame initial injuries in a way that may potentially help get other parts paid for if they stem from the work injury.)

Will Workers’ Comp Pay for New Medical Issues?

It is difficult to get insurance companies to pay for new medical problems that arise while your body is recovering from the initial work injury. Let’s say an infection set in after surgery from a work injury, and you had to take strong antibiotics, which resulted in severe ulcerative colitis. According to workers’ compensation law, a subsequent injury, whether an aggravation of the original injury or a new and distinct injury, is compensable if it is the direct and natural result of a prior compensable injury.

In order to get the insurance company to accept responsibility for the new medical problems that crop up after a work injury, you must have medical evidence from doctors that the new problems are the direct and natural result of the work injury. But don’t think that the hand-picked workers’ comp doctor will simply agree that subsequent issues are indeed the direct result of your initial injury. I have often seen the opposite to be the case.

Contact NC Workers’ Comp Attorneys Soon After Your Work Injury

Err on the side of caution and contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin as soon as possible after your work injury. Our experienced and formidable lawyers will fight for your right to get medical treatment, not only for your immediate work injuries, but also for all the medical conditions that you may develop as a result.

There is a lot to know about workers’ compensation law, and the system is difficult, if not nearly impossible, to navigate successfully on your own. The sooner you hire the professional legal team at James Scott Farrin, the better we can fight to protect your rights.

Even if you don’t think you may need a lawyer, contact us anyway, or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation. Sometimes we are able to offer simple and direct advice even if we don’t think you need a lawyer.

Susan Vanderweert joined the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin in 2015 handling Workers’ Compensation cases, and is a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Workers' Compensation law. Prior to joining the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, she represented the other side – insurance companies and employers – for more than 12 years.

Ms. Vanderweert earned her J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law at Chapel Hill, where she was Editor-in-Chief for the North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation. She earned a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Duke University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota Duluth, where she double majored in Political Science and Communication.

Throughout Ms. Vanderweert’s career she has practiced in the areas of Appellate Advocacy, Insurance Regulatory Matters, and Workers’ Compensation. While she has worked in a variety of capacities – journalism, public relations, and managing a variety of nonprofit professional associations and trade groups – nothing comes close to the satisfaction she gets from helping injured workers.

Contact Information

Asheville Law Office

300 Ridgefield Court Suite 309
Asheville, NC 28806
Phone: 828-552-8215
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Charlotte Law Office

1001 Morehead Square Drive, Suite 350
Charlotte, NC 28203
Phone: 704-599-1078
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Durham Law Office

280 South Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-688-4991
Fax: 800-716-7881

Fayetteville Law Office

2915 Raeford Road, Suite 204
Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone: 910-488-0611
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Goldsboro Law Office

1308 Wayne Memorial Drive, Suite B
Goldsboro, NC 27534
Phone: 919-731-2581
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Greensboro Law Office

300 N. Greene Street, Suite 850
Greensboro, North Carolina 27401
Phone: 336-665-7072
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Greenville Law Office

702 Cromwell Dr. Suite G
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-355-5205
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3227

Henderson Law Office

514 Dabney Drive, Suite 200
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-492-4600
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

New Bern Law Office

1505 South Glenburnie Rd, Unit P
New Bern, NC 28562
Phone: 252-634-9010
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3422

Raleigh Law Office

4325 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27607
Phone: 919-834-1184
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Roanoke Rapids Law Office

709 Julian R. Allsbrook Highway
Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870
Phone: 252-537-9670
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Rocky Mount Law Office

144 Woodridge Court
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Phone: 252-937-4730
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Sanford Law Office

703-B South Horner Boulevard
Sanford, NC 27330
Phone: 919-775-1564
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Wilson Law Office

2315 Airport Blvd Suite A
Wilson, North Carolina 27896
Phone: 252-246-9090
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Winston-Salem Law Office

301 N. Main Street, Suite 2409-C
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078