Being injured on the job is an unexpected and anxiety-inducing event for any employee. The most pressing need is to get medical treatment for the injury or illness. But what if the workplace injury worsened a pre-existing condition? An insurance company may try to deny a claim if it is at all related to a previous condition.
But knowing your rights with workplace injuries is critical, since a pre-existing condition does not mean an injured worker cannot receive Workers’ Compensation benefits. As with any aspect of Workers’ Compensation and the law, it is important to have solid legal advice and to be sure that you fully understand your rights when hurt on the job.
Workers’ Compensation Laws
Workers’ Compensation laws were enacted to protect workers who suffer illness or injury in the course of their employment. Most employers are required to carry this coverage, and it will compensate an injured employee for medical costs, as well as a percentage of wages lost if they are unable to work due to the injury, no matter who is at fault.
In general, the injury or illness must meet certain qualifications:
- Injury occurred on the job site
- The injury occurred on a break
- The employee got hurt at a company-sponsored event
- The injury occurred while the employee was performing work duties, on or off-site
- It must not have involved illegal or prohibited activity
An injury that happens at work can sometimes worsen an existing medical issue – known as a pre-existing condition – but is still a workplace injury according to the definition. There are different aspects to pre-existing conditions and work injuries that are key for employees to know when filing a claim.
Employers can wrongly discourage an employee from filing a claim and insurers may look for ways to avoid paying out benefits.
Workers’ Compensation and Pre-Existing Conditions
Pre-existing conditions can be the result of a previous on-the-job injury; the result of an injury that did not take place during employment; or from aging or another medical condition. Examples of pre-existing conditions can include a knee injury from work, a back injury from sports, asthma, and so forth.
When documenting the injury or accident, provide as much detail as possible as to the time, location, and specific activity involved. Do not attempt to hide the pre-existing condition when discussing treatment with a medical provider; but do be clear in describing both medical issues before and after the workplace injury, particularly what medical issues happened as a result of the injury.
Workplace injuries that are possibly related to pre-existing conditions may involve visits with more than one medical provider.
Do not assume that denial of a claim means you have no options left. Employers and insurance companies seek to limit their liability. Keep in mind that there are complexities involved with pre-existing conditions that are best served with the guidance of an experienced Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyer.
As with any claim for benefits, it is important to first file for Workers’ Compensation as soon as possible with the employer.
Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Fight for Workers Who Aggravate a Pre-Existing Condition
The Wilmington workplace injury lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC have the experience in representing the rights of employees injured on the job. We will fight for the medical benefits and other due compensation you deserve. We represent clients in Wilmington, Dover, Newark, Middletown, and across Delaware, as well as throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Please contact us for a free initial consultation at 302-888-1221 or complete our online request form.