Georgia workers’ compensation does cover pre-existing conditions, but only if the condition is worsened or aggravated by your work-related tasks or duties. For example, if you start a job and already suffer from lower back pain, but the pain intensifies as a result of your regular duties, a doctor can assess how much worse your pain has become. You may be entitled to compensation for the additional pain you developed, but not for the original, pre-existing back condition you had before starting your new job.
If your workers’ compensation claim is denied due to a pre-existing condition, a workers’ compensation lawyer may be able to help you build a case to appeal the denial.
The Importance of Workers’ Compensation
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), thousands of people are killed and injured at workplaces across the country every year. OSHA reports that the leading violations of workplace safety protocol include protection from falls, warnings and communications about workplace hazards, electrocution hazards, machine safety hazards, and lack of protective equipment.
In addition to injuries from these safety failures, many people’s pre-existing conditions are worsened by the work that they do. Repetitive motion injuries, heavy lifting, and physically demanding jobs can be especially dangerous for people with pre-existing health issues. Workers’ compensation provides an important safety net to these workers, and it can help them stay financially afloat while they cannot work and need to recover.
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Calculating Your Benefits
Georgia workers’ compensation pays two-thirds of your salary or wages as compensation for qualifying injuries and health conditions, up to a maximum of $675 per week. If you can only partially return to work, your maximum benefits may be capped at $450 per week. The duration for which you are entitled to benefits, measured in weeks, is determined by the nature of your injuries. A doctor may monitor your recovery to determine when you are able to return to work, although 400 weeks is generally the limit.
When it comes to pre-existing conditions, similar rules apply. A doctor will first try to determine whether or not your job-related tasks or duties aggravated or worsened a pre-existing condition. If it did, he or she will try to determine the severity of the increases to the condition. Based on these assessments, your case may once again be evaluated to determine the level and duration of benefits to which you may be entitled.
Your employer—and your employer’s insurer—will likely require you to go to a pre-approved doctor for your medical assessment. Your employer, of their workers’ compensation insurance policy, should have details on this process.
How you will be assessed will depend on the kinds of injuries you sustained in an accident that somehow involved your pre-existing condition. This can be difficult to do. For example, an injured worker may suffer more pain than usual or may experience a reduced range of motion in a limb as compared to before because of the work that they do.
Even with previous tests and other medical documents in hand that pertain to the worker’s pre-existing condition, a doctor may be unable to conclusively say that the employee’s job-related tasks were or were not responsible for worsening the employee’s condition. This is because the employee’s condition can also have worsened on its own as part of the natural progression of the pre-existing illness in question.
Because of these issues, workers’ compensation claims for pre-existing conditions may be denied.
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Seek Legal Assistance Today
If you filed a claim for workers’ compensation based on the aggravation of a pre-existing condition, but your claim was denied, Bader Scott Injury Lawyers may be able to help you. We represent injured employees in the Atlanta area with their workers’ compensation claims, including ones who have an aggravated pre-existing condition. We can help you:
- Collect the evidence to support your claim
- File the correct paperwork with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC) and meet all applicable deadlines
- Represent you before and SBWC judge or the Appellate Division in the appeals process
Bader Scott Injury Lawyers understands the frustration and difficulty of dealing with insurers, employers, and their lawyers, and we aim to help and guide you through this trying and stressful time.
To learn more about whether workers’ compensation may cover your pre-existing conditions, and to discuss your case for free with a member of our team, call Bader Scott Injury Lawyers today at