Greenville, South Carolina, workers’ compensation benefits are there for anyone who is injured on the job. You are entitled to receive medical benefits for any healthcare treatment you may need and wage benefits to compensate a portion of your lost income. Unfortunately, there are some cases where an employee files for workers’ compensation benefits only to discover that they are denied because it is determined the worker has idiopathic injuries. What do idiopathic injuries mean and how could it affect you?
Well, to begin with, an idiopathic injury or event is one that happens without a direct cause from your work environment. It may be a pre-existing condition that causes an idiopathic event, or it may be a spontaneous event that causes an injury. Typical examples include seizures, frequently caused by epilepsy or other disorders, heart attacks and other coronary events, strokes, and knee conditions.
If your injury or medical event is determined to be idiopathic in nature, then this will impact your workers’ compensation claim. The claim could be denied. In some cases, there is nothing you can do about that, but in others, you can appeal and potentially get the benefits you need. If your work environment has anything to do with the cause of your injuries, you can get the workers’ compensation benefits to which you are entitled. So, if you have a seizure, you can’t get compensation for the medical treatment associated with the seizure or a related disorder. However, if you fall from a height while having a seizure, and you were working at the height as part of your regular employment responsibilities, then you could get coverage for any injuries that result from the fall.
The Injured Employee Has to Prove the Injury is Work-Related
One of the challenges when it comes to idiopathic injuries and events in Greenville, South Carolina, workers’
compensation claims are the fact that the injured worker is tasked with the burden of proof. In the case of an EMT worker who suffered a knee injury, the case hinged on the details. Even though her claim was approved when she filed, her employer decided to appeal the decision, believing that her injury was not actually related to work. This was a case that could have ended up in favor of the worker, but it didn’t. She tried to establish a work-related cause for her injury by stating that her knee gave out because she stood up when her supervisor asked to use the desk where she normally sits.
It has been argued that if she had stood and rushed to respond to an alarm, then she may have been able to establish a work-related cause, and the request of her supervisor to move from the desk could be seen as a work-related cause also. In this case, the worker was not successful in her argument. Her knee injury was determined to be an idiopathic event that was not related to work. Because the case could have gone either way, this is a good example of why you need a skilled Greenville, South Carolina, workers’ compensation attorney if you are tasked with proving that your injury is work related.
When Idiopathic Injuries Stem From A Work-Related Injury
Sometimes, an idiopathic injury or event may lead to an injury that is work related. This happens when a hazard that is unique to your job environment is involved in the injury. As we mentioned before, falling from a height is a good example. You could have an idiopathic knee condition, an idiopathic heart condition, or an idiopathic seizure condition that causes you to fall. The height you were working at is directly related to your occupation. If you sustain broken bones, a head injury, or any other injury related to the height hazard, these injuries will be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. Even fainting, an idiopathic event, could result in further medical expenses if you are injured by a work hazard. Other examples of work hazards that have resulted in workers’ compensation claims with idiopathic events include work related machinery, tables and counters, and work related auto accidents. If someone has a heart attack while driving a vehicle for employment-related purposes, then the resulting auto accident injuries could be covered by workers’ compensation benefits.
This is important because you have to think about whether or not medical expenses would have been incurred if the employee had not been working at the time of the idiopathic event. In some cases, there would be medical expenses no matter where the event occurred. If the person had a heart attack, a stroke, or a seizure, then these conditions might result in medical treatment expenses either way. Yet, if someone sustained further injuries that were related to a work hazard, then this could result in more time away from work and more medical expenses than they would have incurred at home or elsewhere.
Imagine a situation in which someone faints and falls to the floor. This could result in some medical treatment, but it is unlikely to cause the person to miss a significant amount of time from work. Now, imagine a situation where someone faints and falls on a work machine, causing a head injury or broken bone. This is going to cause the person to miss time from work that they might not have lost otherwise. It can also result in more medical expense than they would have endured otherwise.
You Need a Skilled Greenville, South Carolina, Workers’ Compensation Attorney to Present Your Case
These types of workers’ compensation claims can often hang on the details of what happened and the strength of your argument in favor of your right to receive benefits for idiopathic injuries. It is unwise to try to take on the system by yourself. This is especially challenging when you’re dealing with the pain and life disruption that your injuries have caused. Contact the Greenville, South Carolina, workers’ compensation attorneys at the Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm to learn more about your options and rights concerning idiopathic injuries or a workers’ comp claim.