Workers’ compensation claims can be complicated, but they can be particularly tricky for those who are injured and happen to have a pre-existing illness or injury that is unrelated to the one sustained at work. Oftentimes, these types of conditions can impact the workers’ compensation benefits an individual might have otherwise been able to receive, especially if the pre-existing condition is also work-related. This is due to the fact that employers are generally only responsible for the worsening of a physical condition that is caused by an industrial injury. Therefore, an employer will likely try to prove that any impairment an employee has is the result of a pre-existing condition rather than an industrial injury.
Pre-Existing Conditions Related to Prior Workers’ Comp Claims
If you were to sustain an injury on the same body part where you previously sustained another workplace injury, the benefits you would receive for the current claim would be reduced since you would have already received benefits for your previous claim. However, your employer must still pay for all medical bills related to the new injury and you will still receive temporary disability benefits.
Keep in mind that there is a distinction between a worsening previous work-related injury and a new work-related injury that involves the same body parts. Make sure you inform your doctor about the previous workplace injury you sustained and that you provide a copy of your medical records if possible and if he or she was not the physician who previously treated you. Your current doctor will be able to evaluate your condition and determine if it is simply an aggravation of your previous injury or a new one that is affecting the same area. In terms of the benefits you receive, these minor distinctions can make a big difference.
Pre-Existing Conditions Unrelated to Prior Workers’ Comp Claims
Not all previous injuries or pre-existing conditions are related to work, of course. If you have a condition that originated from something that is not related to your job, such as a dislocated shoulder from a motorcycle accident, and your job duties worsened it, you will still receive workers’ compensation benefits, but they will only account for the worsening of the pre-existing condition.
When you visit your doctor, he or she will evaluate your condition and determine whether the injury you sustained at work worsened your pre-existing condition or not. You might want to consider seeing a doctor who regularly treats injured workers since they often understand what phrases and terminology are necessary for describing your condition in a manner that will be helpful for your workers’ compensation claim.
Orange County Worker’s Compensation Attorney
If you sustained an injury on the job that worsened a previous condition, you are still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. At Alvandi Law Group, P.C., our team of Orange County workers’ compensation attorneys have recovered over $300 million on behalf of our clients and have served Southern California for over 30 years. We would be honored to help you as well.
For knowledgeable legal representation, contact our office today at (800) 980-6905 to request a free case evaluation.