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Can pre-existing conditions affect workers’ compensation claims?

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

Navigating the complexities of workers’ compensation is already a mentally and emotionally draining experience. However, this process becomes even more complicated when the employee has a pre-existing health condition that has been worsened or re-injured at work.

Approximately 82 million Americans with employer-based insurance coverage have a pre-existing condition. This ranges from life-threatening illnesses like cancer to chronic conditions like back pain, asthma or even previous injuries to the same body part sustained in another work-related incident.

Having an existing condition does not automatically disqualify an employee from receiving compensation, but it can complicate and prolong the process even more.

Understanding workers’ compensation

Employees who suffered injuries or illnesses due to their jobs are entitled to proper compensation and medical aid, regardless of who was at fault.

However, the employee must be able to provide evidence proving that work activities caused the injury or illness.

Filing a claim with a pre-existing condition

When an employee has a pre-existing health condition, insurers and employers might scrutinize their claim more closely to determine whether the injury is distinct from the pre-existing condition or if the workplace incident simply exacerbated it.

Unfortunately, the burden of proof lies with the employee, who must prove that their job indeed worsened their injury.

To protect their rights, the employee with pre-existing conditions must report the injury immediately. This effectively documents a clear timeline of events that will link the work-related injury to the aggravated condition. It is essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible to determine the injury’s impact on the pre-existing condition. Hiring an experienced attorney can also be critical in protecting the worker’s rights after an injury.

Do pre-existing health conditions impact workers’ compensation claims? The simple answer is yes. However, the process is often more nuanced than it appears at first glance. With proper documentation, evidence and legal support, employees with pre-existing conditions can advocate for their rights and protect their well-being after a work-related injury.