By Sophie Mongeon, attorney-at-law
During the convalescence period, the victim of a car or work-related accident instinctively avoids using the injured limb to protect it.
Intentionally or not, you will end up using your other limb in an unusual way. For instance, after a knee surgery, a person will put more of its weight on the other leg to gain stability. The same logic applies to those who injure their right arm, and consequently start using their left arm for every task. That is what we call compensation.
Tribunals have recognized the right to assistance and indemnities for an injury caused by the overuse of a limb, after its symmetrical counterpart was injured in the first place. In this case, you would have to demonstrate that there was not only an increased utilization of the limb, but an excessive use of it. A recent judgment even accepted to compensate a worker whose limp had caused him to develop severe back issues.
Problems with other parts of your body because of compensation may appear months or years after the initial injury, this does not affect your right to make a claim.