If you have a preexisting condition that was worsened as a result of your
work, you may be unsure of your right to recover
workers’ compensation. Preexisting conditions can complicate workers’ compensation claims.
Many employers and their insurance providers identify preexisting conditions
as a reason to deny coverage to injured workers, but this is not always
lawful. In some cases, people with preexisting conditions do qualify for
workers’ compensation benefits.
Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits for a Preexisting Condition?
Your ability to recover workers’ compensation benefits for a preexisting
condition will depend on the injury’s relation to your work environment.
To receive workers’ compensation in any situation, you will need
to prove that your injury is somehow work-related. In a claim involving
a preexisting condition, it’s possible that the condition can originally
be traced back to a previous work injury or is related to a non-work incident
but was exacerbated by your work environment. If you enter a job with
a preexisting condition that is not related to your work, you cannot receive
workers’ compensation benefits to treat that injury.
Workers’ Compensation for Worsened Work Injuries
Your current work environment may cause an old work injury to get worse.
Although the injury may be able to be traced back to a previous workers’
compensation claim, you will likely need to file a separate claim related
to the most recent injury. This will depend on the terms of your previous
workers’ compensation claim. In some cases, employees are barred
from receiving additional benefits if your injury gets worse. Other claims
account for potential injury aggravation and establish terms for additional
compensation if a work injury progresses.
Workers’ Compensation for Aggravated Preexisting Conditions
The conditions of your place of work or the nature of your work may make
a preexisting condition worsen, but it could be more difficult to receive
benefits if the original source of the preexisting condition is not related to work.
For example, say you tore a ligament in a minor car accident that happened
before you started a job in construction. The injury begins to heal, but
during your employment with the construction company, the strain of your
everyday tasks causes the ligament to tear again. The cause of the initial
injury was the car accident, but the cause of the subsequent harm was
work. Your employer and their insurance company may attempt to deny your
workers’ compensation claim based on the fact that the injury was
not originally caused by work. However — because the original injury
mostly healed, and the progression of the injury can be attributed to
work — you should still qualify for compensation.
If you are unsure about your rights following an on-the-job injury, contact
the Law Offices of Wax & Wax. Our attorneys can guide you through
your workers’ compensation case.
Send us a message
or call 818.946.0608 to schedule a free consultation with our legal team.