A pre-existing condition, such as a partial disability or a chronic illness, can greatly complicate a workers’ compensation claim. It may affect how a new injury is perceived and adversely affect your workers’ comp benefits award unless the issue is properly addressed.
It can be difficult to establish how a pre-existing condition has been worsened by a workplace injury or illness and hinders a worker’s ability to perform job functions. In other cases, a pre-existing condition has no effect on a worker’s ability to perform job duties, but the employer will contend that the pre-existing condition is the problem instead of the new injury or illness, and seek to have a claim denied.
If your medical condition has worsened because of work conditions or a workplace accident that makes a pre-existing condition worse, you may deserve workers’ compensation benefits.
A Pre-Existing Condition and Your Current Injury
A pre-existing condition may change how your workers’ compensation claim is viewed. Let’s say you injured your knee in a car accident years ago. After years at an industrial job that requires you to climb stairs, stoop and squat, your knee is now damaged to the point that you cannot perform your job duties.
You contend in a workers’ compensation claim that, even with your pre-existing condition, your current injury is job-related. Your employer says your knee’s degeneration was caused by your previous condition. It does not want to pay your workers’ compensation insurance claim.
But, a pre-existing condition made worse by job duties or workplace conditions may be a compensable injury under New York and New Jersey workers’ compensation laws. Your employer should pay for the medical treatment you require for your knee, and you deserve wage-loss benefits for your time away from work.
If the car accident that injured your knee was also a workplace accident and you are receiving partial disability benefits because of it, your previous benefits may affect your final settlement.
If your employer disputes your claim, you will need evidence from a doctor’s examination that indicates your current injury and disability were caused by your job duties to obtain appropriate benefits. You must see the doctor your employer sends you to to remain eligible for workers’ comp benefits, but you are not prevented from seeing additional doctors. A second opinion from a doctor who understands how pre-existing conditions are viewed in workers’ compensation claims can properly explain your injury as part of the claim or appeal you file.
A workers’ compensation attorney from the Ginarte Law Firm can help you obtain a fully considered examination of your current jury and how it was affected by a pre-existing condition. With evidence that your occupational duties exacerbated a pre-existing condition or that they alone caused your current condition, our attorneys can provide you with professional, experienced representation before New York or New Jersey workers’ compensation judges.
We have more than 150 years of combined experience with claims arising from workplace injuries and illnesses, including claims involving pre-existing conditions. We understand how the NY and NJ workers’ compensation systems work.
Discuss Your Pre-existing Injury with a Workers’ Comp Attorney Today
A workers’ compensation lawyer with the Ginarte Law Firm can help you obtain the benefits you deserve regardless of how your pre-existing condition affects your current injury or illness. We’ll make sure your case is properly assessed by medical personnel and documented correctly for workers’ compensation authorities.