Important Factors For Workers' Compensation Claims For Preexisting Conditions

Law Blog

Workers' compensation is most often associated with injuries or illnesses that first arise during the course, or as a result, of employment. However, what about preexisting injuries or illnesses that are made worse on the job — do they qualify for workers' compensation? There are no definite answers. Different scenarios can lead to different outcomes, but there are some factors that can help you better figure out how your situation might play out.

Full Disclosure

Was your employer aware of your preexisting condition? Your answer to this question will greatly impact the outcome of your workers' compensation benefits. Consider someone with a back injury, for instance. Assume the individual didn't tell their employer about their condition and knew the role required occasional lifting, which ultimately exacerbated the injury. 

It would be challenging for a person in a similar scenario to argue that their job is the reason for the worsened condition since they didn't reveal their injury and they knew the requirements of the role. On the other hand, if the employee fully disclosed their condition and advocated for alternate job duties, but they were forced to perform the role anyway, this person might be able to claim workers' compensation.

Medical Records

A detailed copy of your medical records is critical to proving that your job duties worsened your condition. One of the most important elements your record should include is a chronological view of the progression of your injury or illness. It's not enough to simply have a diagnosis from years ago and then suddenly claim that your job is the reason for your worsened condition. 

To help strengthen your case, you'll want your record to reflect when you were first diagnosed with the injury or illness, its status before you started the job, and the declined turn it has taken since you've been working. Without this type of record, it's hard to say that your work duties are fully to blame. 

Reduced Benefits

Keep in mind; the benefits you receive might not necessarily be on par with the level of benefits of someone who had an injury or illness that was caused by their work duties. Typically, people who make workers' compensation claims for worsened conditions will have their benefits reduced based on the fact that the condition is preexisting.

However, the more detailed your medical record, the better you will be able to maximize your benefits because a detailed record will provide evidence on the extent at which your condition was worsened once you started on the job. 

An attorney can help you. The fact that you have a preexisting condition will create a bit of a hurdle for you, so the expertise of an attorney can be especially helpful to assist you with your claim.

For more information, contact a workers' compensation attorney.


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