The workers’ compensation system awards benefits to workers who suffer work-related injuries. Insurance companies and injured workers can often work together to resolve workers’ compensation claims in a timely manner. But, there are certain factors that can complicate matters and make it harder to obtain the benefits you deserve. One of these factors is a pre-existing injury.
What Is A Pre-Existing Injury?
The term “pre-existing injury” refers to any health condition, illness, or injury that you had prior to sustaining a workplace injury. Pre-existing injuries are not covered by the workers’ compensation system unless you can prove that performing your job duties aggravated the condition.
For example, let’s say you were diagnosed with arthritis in the past. Then, you sustain a knee injury while performing your job duties. You were able to manage your arthritis before, but now, the symptoms are so severe that you are unable to work. The insurance company may argue that you are not entitled to benefits since your knee was already injured prior to the accident. To obtain benefits, you must show that the workplace accident made your pre-existing condition even worse. If the accident did not aggravate your arthritis, you do not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
How to Prove Aggravation of Pre-Existing Injuries
The insurance company will not approve your claim for workers’ compensation benefits without seeing proof that your pre-existing injuries were aggravated by your work. The best way to prove aggravation of pre-existing injuries is with medical records.
Consider the arthritis example one more time. Let’s say your doctor had to order imaging tests in order to diagnose you in the past. The doctor who treated you following your workplace accident also ordered imaging tests to diagnose your injury. The doctor who is treating you now identifies signs of tears, inflammation, and joint erosion that were not visible on the first imaging test. Therefore, the results of the second test show that your condition is much worse now than it was prior to the accident.
This is just one example of how you can prove the aggravation of pre-existing injuries. You can also rely on the results of physical examinations, bloodwork, and other diagnostic tests. Work closely with your doctor to ensure you have the documentation you need to prove that your pre-existing injury is worse now than it was before the workplace accident.
Have you been injured at work? If you have a pre-existing injury, contact the experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Having a pre-existing injury will make it much harder for you to recover workers’ compensation benefits, but our attorneys know how to quickly overcome this obstacle and resolve your claim. Call us at (918) 582-2500 or toll-free at (800) 722-8880 or complete the simple form below for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.