Disability From Unforeseen Medical Complications and the Workers’ Compensation Act

Date: November 17, 2010
Posted In: DLP Law

Paul from Pennsylvania suffered a terrible fall at a construction site while on the job and fractured his hip. Because of complications that set it, Paul had to have his hip replaced. One of the unintended consequences of the surgery though, was that Paul developed a pulmonary embolism, which eventually led to a stroke leaving Paul partially paralyzed. Had it not been for that stroke, Paul would have been able to return to his supervisory position working for the construction company.

ISSUE: Will Paul be entitled to Workers\’ Compensation benefits as a result of the stroke?

ANSWER: Yes. Any disability caused not only by the initial injury, but also caused by the medical treatment rendered, is considered compensable. This would be true even if that medical treatment constituted malpractice. But for the original work injury, Paul would have never had the surgery which led eventually led to the stroke. Paul\’s employer\’s Workers\’ Compensation carrier will be responsible for ongoing benefits to Paul and payment of all his medical bills.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive. Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column.

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.