If you have an accident at work, you can still claim workers’ compensation even if you have a pre-existing health condition or prior injury sustained outside your work scope. However, non-work-related injuries can affect a workers’ compensation claim. For example, your employer or insurer may use a prior injury or pre-existing health condition to deny your workers’ comp claim or offer fewer benefits than expected.
You have the right to appeal an unfavorable decision, but you’ll need to gather the evidence required to prove your entitlement to benefits. This blog looks closely at workers’ comp claims involving prior injuries or pre-existing health conditions and how a workers’ compensation lawyer can help you build a strong case and tackle the appeals process.
How Non-Work-Related Injuries Can Affect a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Let’s say you broke your leg in a workplace accident, requiring you to use crutches. Then, you slipped and fell outside the workplace due to using crutches. In that case, you could argue any additional injuries you sustained were caused or influenced by the initial workplace accident. As such, you could qualify for financial benefits under the workers’ compensation system with the relevant proof.
Here’s another example: you have a pre-existing health condition (e.g., asthma) made worse by your work conditions. Pre-existing conditions include prior injuries unrelated to work or an illness you had before your current work-related injury. However, workers’ compensation only pays for the aggravation of your asthma, not the condition itself, so you would not receive the full payment of workers’ comp benefits.
You must seek medical assessments after any workplace accident. However, disclosing your prior health issues is vital, or you could lose the benefits you deserve. Proper diagnosis of your injury enables your doctor to determine whether it aggravates an existing condition or is a new injury. If your physician classifies it as a new injury, you could recover the total amount of workers’ comp benefits.
For a free legal consultation, call (404) 888-8888
How to Build a Compelling Claim When You Have Non-Work-Related Injuries
Many people think their employer is off the hook in terms of paying workers’ compensation benefits if they suffer a workplace injury and have non-work-related injuries. However, this is not necessarily the case. The following tips could strengthen your claim for a workplace accident if you also have non-work-related injuries.
Common Non-Work-Related Conditions That Affect Workers’ Comp Claims
Let’s take a look at some common health conditions that your employer might classify as non-work-related:
- Back or neck injuries
- Knee injuries
- Shoulder and elbow injuries
- Previously broken bones
- Carpal tunnel injuries
- Torn ligaments
- Degenerative disc disease and herniated discs
So, take the time to build a strong claim by gathering as much evidence as possible and filling out forms accurately and in detail. That could make all the difference in the outcome of your case. It is well worth your time and effort and an excellent place to start with your claim.
A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help You Build Your Claim
Alternatively, you could hire a workers’ comp attorney to handle evidence gathering and paperwork preparation. Their work often proves beneficial in complex cases. However, if you go it alone, be sure to follow these steps:
- Report the accident immediately and ask to see your employer’s approved doctor list.
- Always disclose your pre-existing condition or injury during the hiring process and on your workers’ comp claim.
- Answer questions honestly and provide detailed answers.
- Gather supporting evidence, such as medical records, to substantiate your claim.
- Explain when your pain began, the level of pain you feel, and how it limits what you can do.
- Gather witness contact details if a colleague or someone else saw the accident.
- Keep a diary of your symptoms and how they affect you.
- Avoid posting information about your injury on social media.
- Follow up with your employer about your claim’s progression if unnecessary delays arise.
You can learn about your legal options during a free consultation with a workers’ compensation attorney. If your employer denies your claim despite following these steps, don’t worry—many people have to fight for the benefits they deserve. A lawyer can help you file an appeal and fight to recover your full benefit entitlement.
Speak to Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today at No Cost or Obligation
The Bader Scott Injury Lawyers team has received accolades for their work and demonstrated skill and aptitude as workers’ compensation attorneys. We aim to help you move forward with your life after a workplace accident by fighting for the compensation you deserve. We use our prior experience to take the strain out of the claim process, so you can focus on your recovery with the peace of mind your claim is in capable hands.
Call and schedule a free consultation with our team today to learn more about your legal options and how we can help.