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Pre-Existing Conditions & Workers’ Compensation in PA & NJ

As you may already know, if you suffer from a workplace accident, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to help cover medical treatment and other work injury-related expenses.

But what about prior injuries that worsen due to aggravation caused by your job?

Generally speaking, injured workers are entitled to workers’ comp benefits only if a work-related injury causes their injury and or illness. However, if the job’s activities cause aggravation of a pre-existing condition, there’s a chance that the victim may still be entitled to workers’ compensation from their employer’s insurance company.

Our Legal Team Represents Injured Employees

You don’t have to worry about filing a workers’ compensation claim for a new injury because your employer will still pay your medical expenses and lost wages. However, your benefits will be impacted. They would be more impacted if the pre-existing condition was diagnosed before the new injury than someone who doesn’t have a pre-existing condition to the same body part that you had injured.

Also, if you have filed a workers’ compensation claim in the past for the same injury, this may cause a reduction in benefits. The doctor will determine the compensation for the new injury by deducting the monetary compensation award for the new claim for what was awarded in the previous claim.

Your Pre-Existing Condition is Not Work Related

If you’re like many Americans who have a pre-existing work condition that was not the result of a work injury and you injured that body part on the job, you can still file a claim because your job duties made the condition worse. You will receive compensation for only the increase in permanent impairment.

New Injury vs. Old Injury

Many workers wonder how the new injury will be perceived by their employer and by a jury. The burden of proof is on the claimant.

An insurance adjuster will go through everything (i.e., old medical records), looking for discrepancies and false statements to have your workers’ comp claim denied. They must establish how much worse a pre-existing condition was made from performing job duties and/or from the new injury. Also, if you ignore your doctor’s orders not to perform a particular job duty or go back to your old job due to the job injury, your claim can be denied.

The majority of pre-existing conditions can lead to back injuries, knee injuries, shoulder injuries, and wrist injuries. The “but for” rule is one many lawyers often use in proving that the pre-existing condition would not have been aggravated “but for” performing a job duty. For example, you had tendinitis in your right elbow four years ago and haven’t had a flare-up until today, when you were stocking products on a shelf in the warehouse. The pre-existing condition would not have re-manifested itself “but for” stocking the products on high shelves.

Discussing the Pre-Existing Injury with a New Doctor

When you have filed a claim, you will be appointed a doctor for medical care. You need to tell the doctor about your pre-existing condition first. You must differentiate the pain between the pre-existing condition and the new injury. And, during your medical examination, tell the doctor how the new pain is affecting your daily life and your job.

Please answer the doctor’s questions about your workplace injury to the best of your ability. Your doctor will need to gather this information to determine whether you have a present, temporary, worsening, or permanent disability.

Pre-Existing Workers’ Compensation Claims Can Be Difficult

Before you file a claim, you should consult a workers’ compensation lawyer. The lawyer will have the necessary experience to make sure the paperwork is filled out correctly, especially if you have filed a claim in the past. Workers’ compensation lawyers know how to deal with insurance carriers, and you don’t want to lose any benefits or rights.

Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Will Guide You

If you believe on-the-job activities have worsened your previous injury or illness, don’t wait – you should contact a personal injury lawyer today.

At the law firm of Saffren & Weinberg, we value the attorney-client relationship and have years of experience handling workers’ comp claims and dealing with workers’ compensation insurance companies.

No matter the pre-existing medical condition – whether it be carpal tunnel or a herniated disc – we will work hard to get you the disability benefits you deserve.

Call the law offices of Saffren & Weinberg today for a free consultation.


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