Unfortunately, some workers’ compensation recipients suffer a second and unrelated accident while under care for their work injury. Georgia workers’ compensation law allows the insurance companies to suspend or “cut off” benefits when an injured worker suffers a significant “subsequent non-work related injury” severe enough to relieve the insurance carrier’s liability. As such, it appears that many insurance companies wait (and pray) for that to happen in hopes of cutting off the injured worker’s compensation benefits.
Over the past 20 years, we have had many injured clients who had the unfortunate experience of being in a subsequent, non-work related, car accident on their way to the grocery store or even to their physical therapy appointment. As a result, the insurance company would circle the situation and petition to suspend in the injured workers’ weekly income benefits. See also, Hallisey v. Fort Howard Paper Co., 268 Ga. 57 (1997).
In order to keep workers’ compensation benefits from being stopped, the injured employee would be required to prove that the “chain of causation” for the claim had not been broken.
As with most workers’ compensation issues, medical evidence and expert opinions of the doctors would play a major role in the case. The insurance company may compel the injured employee to a known doctor such as Dr. Hal Silcox at Peachtree Orthopaedic or Dr. Philip Ploska at Resurgens in order to obtain an opinion sympathetic to their side.
Conversely, the injured worker will be required to secure medical evidence proving that the second injury was either temporary or insignificant. Generally, the injured worker’s authorized treating physician would hold more weight with the administrative law judge. However, every case is different.
Contact Ramos Law Firm for a free consultation
If you are recovering from a work injury such as a spinal cord, knee, or shoulder injury, receiving workers’ comp and have now suffered a second injury away from work, it would be in your best interest to contact the Ramos Law Firm for your free workers’ compensation consultation.