Can You Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits For A Pre-Existing Injury?


Posted by: Chris

People who sustain on-the-job injuries are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. For example, someone who trips and breaks his arm at work is entitled to benefits for his broken bone. But, what about someone who has a pre-existing injury? Are these injuries covered by the workers’ compensation system?

What is a Pre-Existing Injury?

As its name suggests, a pre-existing injury is one that existed prior to the accident in question. Consider the same trip-and-fall example. Let’s say the worker sustained a back injury while playing sports several weeks prior to the accident. Then, he tripped at work and broke his arm as a result of the fall. In this example, the back injury is a pre-existing injury since it occurred prior to the trip-and-fall.  

Workers’ Compensation Benefits For Pre-Existing Injuries

Workers’ compensation benefits are awarded to people who suffer work-related injuries. The law states that pre-existing injuries are not covered by the workers’ compensation system since they are not related to the workplace. However, there is one exception to this rule. If work-related factors aggravate or worsen a pre-existing injury, the injury may be partially or totally covered by the workers’ compensation system.

Take another look at the trip-and-fall example. In addition to breaking his arm, let’s say the worker also aggravated his pre-existing back injury. The initial back injury may have occurred outside of the workplace, but the aggravation of the injury occurred at work. Therefore, the workers’ compensation system may cover this injury.

Recovering Compensation For Pre-Existing Injuries

If you want to recover compensation for a pre-existing injury, be prepared to provide proof. In the example above, the worker’s healthcare provider would need to confirm that the trip-and-fall accident made the patient’s back injury even worse than it was prior to his fall. For instance, the healthcare provider could submit CT scans showing the pre- and post-accident soft tissue damage in the patient’s back. This would serve as proof that the injury was aggravated during an accident that occurred at work. If your healthcare provider cannot confirm a connection between the accident and pre-existing injury, you will not receive benefits for this injury.

Are you trying to recover compensation for a pre-existing injury? If so, seek legal representation from the experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Let our team build a strong case that clearly shows why you qualify for benefits for your pre-existing injury. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.