Workers’ Comp Payment for Secondary Injuries

Let’s say you are hurt on the job. You tear your shoulder while lifting a large box overhead.

Worker’s compensation doctors say you’ll need a shoulder operation and you should be good as new. Your company’s workers’ comp insurance agrees to pay for the operation, all medicines, medical treatments, and any therapy resulting from that shoulder injury.

You breathe a sigh of relief.

But a few weeks later, that sigh of relief is interrupted. You’re having trouble breathing. A lot of trouble. Your wife calls 911, and an ambulance rushes you to the hospital. There’s a blood clot in your lung. If the doctor determines this clot was likely the result of your shoulder surgery (a known risk of any surgery), workers’ compensation insurance should be responsible for paying all medical expenses related to the blood clot, too.

Seems black and white.

Yet unfortunately, these situations are not always black and white. They can often be grey. Very grey. We’ve found that some insurance companies may deny payment of these common complications, which will leave you – the injured worker who just wants to heal and go back to work – in the red. Paying bills out of pocket or just not able to afford the care the doctor says you need.

It can be very difficult to prove that a secondary injury is a result of an initial workplace accident. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney at James Scott Farrin can help you fight fot the compensation you may be entitled to.


Denials and Delays! Why You May Need a Workers’ Comp Lawyer

Proving that secondary injuries are the result of the initial workplace injury can be particularly tricky. Especially for someone who is not familiar with workers’ compensation law.

Some insurance companies may question secondary injuries or delay payment. If they get their way, this strategy could potentially save them money.

Moreover, the law allows the workers’ comp insurance company to pick your doctors. If you’re not comfortable with that doctor’s diagnosis, you have the right to request a second opinion from a doctor you and the insurance company agree on. But sometimes we have had cases where we’ve had to fight tooth and nail for clients to exercise that right.

And then there have been cases where we’ve seen the insurance adjuster stand in the way of authorizing treatment. Sometimes treatment can be delayed or may not get paid on time or appropriately. Prescriptions may not be reimbursed, so some of our clients have had to pay for prescriptions or expensive equipment out-of-pocket. Some began to spiral into debt trying to keep up with medical bills. Until they hired us, many didn’t realize these secondary medical expenses, which were directly related to the initial workers’ compensation injury, are typically covered by workers’ compensation.

Life can careen out of control quickly just trying to keep up with medical bills, let alone arguing with your insurance company day after day.

Let us do the arguing for you. It doesn’t matter what type of injury you have, we have probably dealt with it. As a matter of fact, these secondary issues have often been some of the most hotly contested litigation during my career in workers’ compensation law.

Life can be difficult after a work injury. Let a lawyer argue for you.

Can You Afford a North Carolina Job Injury Attorney?

Don’t worry if you think you may not be able to afford us. We work on contingency, which means that you don’t pay any attorney’s fee unless we get you compensation.2

Take the first step toward taking your life back. The link will take you to our short but empowering booklet, How to Take Control of Your NC Workers’ Comp Claim (before it controls you).

Get Your Case Evaluated for FREE by North Carolina Workers’ Comp Attorneys

Let one of our experienced workers’ comp attorneys evaluate your situation for free. They’ve authored books, spoken at seminars for other workers’ compensation attorneys, and several are North Carolina State Bar Board Certified Specialists in workers’ comp law— which is something less than 1% of the 30,000+ attorneys3 licensed to practice in NC can say.

In fact, our firm was recognized by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® on the “Best Law Firms” list for workers’ compensation for the greater Raleigh area4 in 2022. Contact us online or call 1-866-900-7078. We’re available 24/7 to try to get you the answers you need.

3Figure provided by the N.C. State Bar as of February 2021.
4For more information regarding the standards for inclusion for Best Law Firms and Best Lawyers, visit

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About the Author

Matt Harbin is a workers’ compensation attorney in North Carolina at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin. He received the Order of Service award from the North Carolina Advocates for Justice in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Matt also was honored on the “Best Lawyers”a list for Workers’ Compensation Law – Claimants by Best Lawyers in America in 2021 and 2022. He is a North Carolina State Bar Board Certified Specialist in Workers’ Compensation Law, and he is a member of the American Association for Justice, the Workplace Injury Litigation Group, the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, and the Legal Affairs Committee.

aFor more information regarding the standards of inclusion, please visit