Q: Do I qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if my job-related injury aggravated a previous condition?
Yes, if your work-related injury has worsened a previous injury or existing condition, you’re still entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
While these benefits are generally only available for injuries and illnesses incurred on the job, employees are also entitled to compensation when their work accident aggravates or accelerates a pre-existing ailment. Unfortunately, if you do have a pre-existing condition, your employer’s insurance carrier will likely attempt to deny your claim.
Insurance carriers aren't allowed to deny the payment of workers’ compensation benefits due to pre-existing conditions, but the unfortunate reality is they often do.
Insurers frequently claim the symptoms a worker is currently experiencing stem solely from a previous injury or existing health condition, and are therefore unrelated to his present job. The workers’ compensation insurance company will review your medical history in an effort to prove your work-related injury didn’t worsen a pre-existing condition. Fortunately, you can gather evidence to support your claim.
Supporting Your Claim
There are several steps you can take in order to substantiate your workers’ compensation claim:
- Consult your doctor. Tell your physician about any differences between your previous condition and the recent work-related injury. This discussion should include a description of any pain, discomfort, or limitations caused by your pre-existing condition, as well as any changes in the frequency, intensity, and duration of your pain.
- Follow your treatment plan. If your doctor prescribes a treatment plan, you must follow his advice and keep your follow-up appointments in order to avoid denial of workers’ compensation benefits.
- Seek legal help. If your work-related injury aggravated a pre-existing condition, you should speak with a workers’ compensation attorney. You need the assistance of a skilled legal professional to protect your rights and secure the benefits you deserve.
To learn more, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by using the form on this page.