It is common for an employee to have a pre-existing health condition before incurring another work-related injury. Here’s the good news: This kind of pre-existing condition does not disqualify you from receiving workers’ compensation. However, some insurance companies might be quick to deny the claim to reduce the number of compensation benefits they have to pay.
Although workers’ compensation law differs in different states, in most cases, you can file a compensation claim if you get injured at your place of work regardless of whether you had a pre-existing injury or not. Below is an overview of pre-existing conditions and how they might affect your compensation claim.
Pre-Existing Injury Related to Your Previous Compensation Claim
You might have injured the same body part in a previous place of work and filed for a compensation claim. In such an event, your current benefits might get reduced slightly. However, your employer will still need to cover all your medical bills for the current work-related injury. Additionally, if the recent injury makes it temporarily impossible for you to work, your employer will have to pay you disability benefits for compensation of time-loss.
If the injury leads to permanent disability, the compensation you receive will only cater to the increase in impairment. For example, if you had received $6000 in your previous claim and the doctor assesses that your current impairment makes you eligible for $8000, you will only receive $2000. However, if the condition did not worsen, you will not receive any permanent or partial disability benefits.
Conditions Not Related to the Previous Compensation Plan
You might have a pre-existing injury that stems from a chronic illness, aging, or an accident unrelated to work. This injury might get aggravated and worsen due to a work-related accident. In such an occurrence, you will only receive compensation to cater for the worsening of your injury.
Your doctor will evaluate the injury to determine whether it led to the worsening of your pre-existing condition. The doctor will also determine if the worsening is permanent or temporary. You will use the doctor’s notes to file and support your compensation claim.
From the above overview, it is clear that whether your pre-existing condition relates to a previous work-place or not, you are still eligible for a compensation claim. You will still receive medical compensation and disability benefits where required. However, if it relates to a previous work-place, it might have slight effects on the amount that you receive from your claim.
Of course, the above examples are meant to give you a general idea what the likely outcome of your claim will be. Not every case will result in the same outcome, as each situation and each claim can vary widely. If you were injured at work and are preparing to file a claim, be sure to do your research or contact a workers’ compensation attorney if needed.