Have you recently been the victim of a work-related injury? If so, by law
you are entitled to workers compensation benefits for the harm caused
by the accident. What if you have a pre-existing medical condition though?
How will your claim be affected and what type of compensation will you
be able to receive? These situations are very common, but many employees
fail to file claims out of the mistaken belief that nothing can be done.
Just because you have a condition prior to being hurt while working does
not mean you are ineligible for benefits.
It is a Case-by-Case Basis
Insurance companies place a lot of emphasis on pre-existing conditions
in an effort to reduce the amount they have to pay, and they try to prove
the current injury is the direct result of your condition prior to being
hurt on the job. However, if you were able to work before the accident
with a pre-existing condition but are unable to afterward, then you should
Issues surrounding pre-existing conditions are never black and white and
every incident has to be assessed on its own merit. That is why hiring
a qualified worker’s compensation attorney to represent you is crucial.
Unfortunately, many employees end up suffering from increased symptoms
and paying for medical treatment following the aggravation of a pre-existing
condition at work because they are unaware of their rights.
Understanding an Aggravated Condition
We do not live in a perfect world and none of us are completely healthy.
That is the logic by which the law concerning aggravation of pre-existing
conditions operates. The most important thing to remember with any work-related
injury is that employers must take their employees as they are found at
the time of the accident, whether or not a pre-existing condition is present.
Workers compensation laws do not view employees from the perspective of
an “injury scale.” Compensation is awarded to employees who
are injured by the hazards of employment.
Since the health of every employee is unique, each case must be evaluated
on an individual basis. For instance, if you have mild back pain caused
by a bulging disc then a fall at work causes the disc to become herniated,
workers’ compensation is responsible for that aggravation. The means
by which this change or aggravation occurred, the fall, was a direct result
of a workplace hazard. Thus, the resulting injury must be treated like
any other claim, just as it would if someone who did not have a bulging
disc had fallen.