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August 2021

Pre-existing medical conditions and workers' compensation

Will a Pre-Existing Medical Condition Prevent you from Receiving Workers’ Compensation?

By Workers Compensation

August 5, 2021

Workers’ compensation cases are often controversial, and pre-existing medical conditions add to the confusion as to whether or not one is eligible in receiving their claim. Work injuries happen very frequently and are likely to arise from working in physical industries like construction, manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation jobs. Those who have a pre-existing injury are much more at risk to get injured working in these fields than those who do not. 

In the result of a workplace injury, workers’ compensation must be paid. However, employees with pre-existing conditions unfortunately get denied from their work place injury claim far too often. For this reason, we want to make sure you know and understand all of the facts and regulations regarding pre-existing injuries and workers’ compensation. We will also cover how to have a plan of action in the event you encounter a situation where this applies to you or someone you know. It is our goal to help you obtain the compensation you are entitled to. 

What is a Pre-Existing Medical Condition? 

It is important to point out what exactly a pre-existing medical condition is. As defined, a pre-existing medical condition is any condition or injury that existed before the workplace injury. Many people deal with pre-existing medical conditions on a daily basis. Some conditions may be severe and create challenges with everyday tasks such as chronic back pain. 

Contrarily, other pre-existing medical conditions can be as minor as an injury that flares up every once in a while. For instance, a high school ACL tear injury from playing a sport may be healed from surgery, but can act up when you do certain motions or put too much pressure on it.

Pre-Existing Conditions Examined Under the Law

Under New York State law, it is stated that If the condition is due to a previous work-related injury in which you have been receiving workers’ compensation for, then you can be eligible to receive additional workers’ compensation if it is further aggravated or has contributed to another condition.

It can be a tough call to make if you are unsure if your pre-existing condition has become worsened from performing a work-related task. A good rule of thumb to follow is : If your work responsibilities caused the pre-existing condition to once again require care and treatment. Therefore, if you find you need to seek additional medical help, you are most likely experiencing an aggravation of your pre-existing condition. 

How do you prove that Aggravation to a Pre-Existing Injury Happened? 

It is very important that an employee is able to prove that the aggravation happened at work or else they will not be able to receive their additional benefits. In other words, one must need actual proof that their pre-existing condition was made worse from a work related task. It is not good enough to simply state that your pre-existing condition is acting up and bothering you for you to receive the additional workers’ compensation. 

So, what can you do to prove this? One way in which you can accomplish this is by getting medical attention from an experienced workers comp doctor. Documenting your injuries right after the accident is crucial and it will help strengthen your case. Also, you must inform your doctor about any pre-existing conditions and let them know of any symptoms or injuries that have worsened or changed after the accident. 

Finally, you should follow up with your original pre-existing condition treatment provider. This way, you will have a record of your initial report from the injury and be able to point out any new changes or symptoms that occurred since this accident. 

The Degree to which the Injury was Caused by a Work Environment 

There are several scenarios where pre-existing conditions can make it confusing when determining how responsible an employer is for a new injury. Let’s say, for example, a worker gets his hand caught in a machine and now his hand has permanent damage. However, in his previous job, he had already injured this hand and therefore was at a disadvantage working in his current job with limited functionality. 

The question now raised from this scenario is: To what extent is the current job responsible for his permanent hand injury? This will require lawyers as well as an examination from a doctor. it is especially important to analyze the medical records and use them to make a comparison between the new injury as well as the old injury charts. 

Losi & Gangi is here to make sure you get the benefits you are entitled to. If you have any questions regarding pre-existing medical conditions when it comes to reviving workers’ compensation benefits… contact Losi & Gangi to speak with one of our workers’ compensation lawyers at (716) 854-1446

 

Article Adapted from:

https://www.injuredcalltoday.com/do-pre-existing-conditions-affect-your-workers-comp-claim-in-new-york/