Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Pre-Existing Conditions That Are Exacerbated On The Job?
When a worker is hurt on the job, their employer is required by law to provide workers’ compensation benefits. Although insurance companies often try to deny valid claims, in New Jersey, they’re prohibited from denying workers’ compensation benefits due to a pre-existing condition.
At Krivitzky, Springer & Feldman, our workers’ comp lawyers are well-versed in the tactics insurance companies employ when a pre-existing condition has worsened due to an on-the-job injury or occupational exposure, such as repetitive motion. If you have a pre-existing medical condition that you believe may affect your workers’ compensation claim or your petition has already been denied due to a pre-existing condition, it’s important to understand your rights under the law.
What Is A Pre-Existing Condition?
A pre-existing condition is a previous medical condition that may be exacerbated by a workplace injury or due to the nature of the tasks you perform. For example, if you had a herniated disc in the past that has flared up due to repetitive lifting, twisting, or bending at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if it affects your ability to work.
Some other examples of pre-existing conditions that may be exacerbated by work injuries include:
- Respiratory problems that have worsened due to exposure to dust or chemicals
- Back, neck, and shoulder injuries that have worsened due to lifting heavy objects or repetitive stress
Reporting Work Injuries Is Important, Even If You Have A Pre-Existing Condition
To receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must report an injury to your employer. Many employees are hesitant to file a workers’ compensation claim when they have a pre-existing condition, even if a workplace injury has caused it to worsen. However, if your condition has been exacerbated due to your work or an on-the-job injury, your health may continue to deteriorate, leaving you unable to work at all. Reporting the injury can also be helpful if a workers’ comp claim is disputed by your employer or its insurance company down the road.
Seeking Medical Attention Can Support Your Claim
Having a qualified medical professional evaluate and diagnose your injury is also vital. A doctor’s report stating that your injuries are as described in your claim provides concrete evidence that your workers’ comp claim is for a workplace injury and not due to a pre-existing condition or something that occurred outside of work. Doctors who are experienced in diagnosing and treating on-the-job injuries often know the language to use and what to look for.
It’s critical to reveal any and all pre-existing conditions or injuries you may have had in the past. Insurance companies go over your medical history with a fine-toothed comb, and if you’re found to be hiding something, your claim may be denied.
How A Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help With Your Pre-Existing Condition Claim
Workers’ comp claims involving pre-existing conditions are complex. Although a pre-existing condition doesn’t prohibit you from recovering restitution, it can affect the amount of compensation you receive. For example, if you sustained a knee injury playing football years before and reinjured your knee, resulting in decreased mobility, workers’ comp may only cover new costs related to your current symptoms and injury.
A law firm that’s experienced in handling workers’ compensation claims gathers evidence and documentation to prove that a workplace incident worsened your condition. They may also have medical experts who can differentiate what treatment is appropriate for your previous injury and what’s required to treat your current work-related health problems. Having a skilled attorney in your corner can make all the difference when it comes to recovering maximum compensation in a pre-existing workers’ comp claim.
Our Workers’ Comp Attorneys Are Here For You
Regardless of how you were injured at work, it’s always a good idea to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney who can evaluate your claim and advise you on the most effective course of action. If you’re seeking workers’ compensation for a pre-existing condition, call Krivitzky, Springer & Feldman at 201-798-2711 in Jersey City or 973-874-0556 in Newfoundland, New Jersey. You can also contact us online to ask questions or arrange a free consultation. We serve clients throughout New Jersey.