The workers’ compensation system is relatively simple. If you are injured as a result of your work activities, you have the right to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, other injury-related expenses, permanent disability costs, and potentially pain and suffering. But what happens if the injury sustained from work activities is from a pre-existing condition? In this situation, things are a little more complicated. It is a good idea to have a good understanding of the rules and regulations before you find yourself in this situation, especially if you do have a pre-existing condition.
How Workers’ Comp Treats Existing Conditions
The first thing you need to understand about workers’ comp is that it is regulated by the state, which means it works slightly differently depending on which state you work in (which may be different than the state you live in). Generally however, pre-existing conditions are covered by workers’ comp. This covers many different types of situations, such as:
- Reinjuring previous injuries
- Conditions that make injuries more likely
- Aggravated pre-existing condition
- Exacerbating existing injuries
As one example, if you have a condition that makes it easier for you to break a bone, this does not disqualify you from compensation if you do break a bone. Even if a worker without this condition would have been unharmed, you are still owed compensation for the injury. Specifically, employers are not allowed to make a distinction between injured workers and injured workers with an existing condition. Keep in mind that you only qualify for workers’ comp if the injury happens as a result of work activities. Even if you are injured while on the clock, you are only guaranteed compensation if the specific activity is part of the job.
Do Not Let Your Benefits Be Denied
Studies show that injuries involving pre-existing conditions are among the most common that employers try to deny workers’ comp to. This may be due to ignorance of the laws or it may be due to malicious intent. Either way, do not let your employer convince you that your pre-existing condition disqualifies you. It is illegal to discriminate against workers with such conditions. If your employer refuses to provide you with the workers’ compensation you deserve, you should speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer. There are legal professionals who specialize in workers’ comp cases specifically and would be happy to take on your case and ensure you get the compensation you are owed. It is a good idea to get into contact as soon as possible.