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Consider the following scenario:
I had an injury to my left knee in 2012. I was provided treatment and settled my case with future medical treatment. I go to treatment approximately two to three times a year for my left knee. My right knee is now starting to bother me. I asked my doctor about this and he said he is only going to provide treatment for my left knee. I would really like to have my right knee checked out, but am I only limited to my left knee?
There is a doctrine in workers' compensation cases referred to as a compensable consequence. Under this doctrine, where a subsequent injury is the direct and natural consequence of an original industrial injury, the subsequent injury is considered to relate back to the original injury and it generally is not treated as a new and independent injury.
This could very well be what is happening in the injured worker's right knee outlined above. The injured worker would likely have to reopen the injury for the left knee and make that claim. As mentioned in prior blog posts, an injured worker has five years from the date of injury to reopen his or her case. This of course unless the matter via compromise and release which would completely close the case. The panel doctor who addressed the left knee injury would then address the right knee injury.
If you have questions about your workers' compensation injury and want to talk to an attorney in Fresno, please call 559-408-7436 or fill out the form to the right.