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COMPENSABLE CONSEQUENCES

A "compensable consequence" is not a new injury with a new date of injury, but the consequence of an industrial injury or the treatment for that injury. In the leading case of SCIF v. IAC (Wallin) (1959) 176 Cal.App.2d 10, the Court of Appeal found that a worker  amputated his finger at home as a result of an industrial eye injury. "Thus the first injury need not be the exclusive cause of the second but only a contributing factor to it; in this view the presence of contributory negligence in itself would not break the causative connection unless the intervening negligence were the sole and exclusive cause of the injury. So long as the original injury operates even in part as a contributing factor it establishes liability."

Injuries on the way to, or returning from, medical appointments related to a work injury are usually "compensable consequences" unless there was a detour. Side effects and sequelae that result from an injury or the treatment for the injury are compensable.

Whether some condition, disease or impairment is a compensable consequence will generally hinge on the medical opinions and facts of the case, and how the subsequent problem is causally connected to the work injury.

If the compensable consequence arises post Award, see Reopening.

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Regulations/Rules  
Cases See Wallin case above

In Laines v. WCAB (1975) 48 Cal. App. 3d 872, the Court of Appeals held that an employee was entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits for injuries sustained while enroute to receive medical treatment for an industrial injury where the industrial injury, in itself, was not a factor contributing to the second injury, and where the journey did not commence at the worker's place of employment: “The most serious problem with providing coverage in the case of the trip to the doctor's office...is that the employer lacks the opportunity to exercise any control over the trip. The time the trip is made, the route followed, and the means of transportation employed are completely within the discretion of the employee, and the employer is thus unable to insure that the trip is reasonably safe and free of unnecessary hazards... [A] choice must be made between requiring the employer to bear the risk of the employee's injury or requiring the employee to bear the risk of any mishap that may befall him while seeking statutorily required medical attention. We conclude that the risk should be borne by the employer. We determine, therefore, that the industrial injury of petitioner was a proximate cause of his accident injury.”



Laines v. WCAB
 
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