Workers Compensation:

Previous Injuries and Pre Existing Conditions

An employer can usually be held responsible for aggravating a pre-existing condition. Any injury that worsens a prior condition is usually the responsibility of the employer. Some employees may deny work related injury claims by telling the employee the condition was pre-existing and cannot be paid for under workers’ compensation law. However, a pre-existing injury can be paid for if the injury worsens significantly after an incident on the job. These claims may involve the opinion of a medical professional who can determine if events at work made the employee’s condition worse. For instance, if an employee had pre-existing back problems since childhood and labor at work worsened the condition and disabled the employee, it counts as a new injury allowing benefits to be paid.

If you suffered an injury at work that aggravated a previous ailment, you need to ask yourself several questions, including:

  • Was my pre-existing condition bothering me before I was hurt at work?
  • Has my work accident made my pre-existing condition hurt more than usual?
  • Did the area affected by my pre-existing condition feel differently or emit a strange noise after my injury at work?
  • Did the pain travel to a different location in the same body part affected by my pre-existing condition?
  • Has my range of motion become even more limited after the injury at work?

These factors can help you determine whether your work injury aggravated a pre-existing condition. You should speak with your doctor and inform him or her of your medical history and any problems stemming from your work-related injury. Be honest and upfront with your health care professionals to ensure you receive the proper treatment for your injuries.