What is Causal Relationship in Workers’ Compensation?

In order to receive workers’ compensation benefits for an injury you suffered that injury must have occurred on the job.

Several things must be proven before you can receive workers’ compensation benefits:

  1. You are injured
  2. Your employer was given timely notice of the injury or accident
  3. That the injury is “causally related” to your job, meaning that it happened because of your work

Sometimes causal relationship is easy to establish. If you are working and a piece of heavy equipment falls on you, breaking your leg, then clearly your injury was caused by your work. The same is true if you drive as part of your job and you get into a car accident while driving from one point to another while working. The question becomes much more complicated if other factors are introduced. Say, for instance, that you do a lot of typing at work and you develop carpal tunnel syndrome. You might argue that you developed carpal tunnel syndrome from working. However, you do lots of other things that might contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome. Say, for instance, that you also knit. The workers’ compensation carrier may argue that your carpal tunnel syndrome was caused by your knitting and not your typing. For a different example, say you are a pizza delivery person who gets into a car accident in the McDonald’s drive through while you were getting lunch between deliveries. The carrier might argue then that you weren’t working so your injury wasn’t caused “on the job.” When this sort of disagreement arises you may have a trial in front of a Workers’ Compensation Law Judge to present evidence, such as a doctor’s report saying that your injury is causally related to your job or job duties.

If there is a question about the causal relationship of your injury to your job it is very helpful to have a lawyer representing you. Segar & Sciortino has decades of experience trying issues related to causal relationship. Call us today for a free consultation.