Weight Gain and Workers’ Compensation Benefits

In a workers’ compensation case out of Idaho, the Supreme Court of Idaho reaffirmed a long-standing principle in workers’ comp law that post-injury weight gain by an injured worker does not relieve the insurance carrier from having to provide medical care related to the injury, even if the weight gain has exacerbated the work-related injury.  The exception to this principle would be in a case where an injured worker sets out intentionally or with “deliberate” disregard of the risk involved in gaining weight. That situation is highly unlikely to ever happen, although it would be interesting to see it attempted.


This case out of Idaho is substantially similar to the approach to the law in Virginia.  Often, injured workers are unable to move around and/or exercise due to their injury.  If they are unable to work due to their injury, overeating can sometimes occur due to boredom or as a form of “self-medicating.”  It is not uncommon for this to happen.  Unfortunately, even more self-harming behaviors often arise out of a work injury.  It doesn’t help the situation when the insurance adjuster, claims manager and/or case nurse places blame on the injured worker for these negative side-effects arising out of a work injury.  The comp carrier might be wise to invest in weight loss counseling and/or other types of therapies for injured workers as this could improve the chances of recovery and reduce the insurance carrier’s costs in the long term.


So, if you’ve been injured at work and are being bullied and blamed by the insurance carrier for gaining weight, or are suffering mentally from your condition, remember, the insurance carrier might try to use this as an excuse to cut off your treatment and benefits.  Fight back & make them provide complete health care related to your injury, including counseling and/or other therapies to help you cope with your situation.


These statements are for general information purposes only and not considered specific legal advice. Mr. Shoen would need to meet with you individually to ensure client confidentiality and would need additional information not provided in this article. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult an attorney directly for legal advice.

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