Attorneys Who Can Navigate the Challenges of Pre-Existing Conditions
If you have a pre-existing medical condition — a knee injury from a previous car accident or chronic back pain, for example — it may be difficult to prove that your condition was made worse by a workplace injury. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney at our law firm can prove that your prior injury was aggravated by an on-the-job injury and that it limits your ability to perform your job. Turley Redmond & Rosasco, L.L.P., has more than 25 years of experience representing injured workers from Long Island, New York. Our job accident attorneys are just one toll-free phone call away: 800-671-4927. In a free initial consultation, we can talk to you about your rights and options.
We Help With Workers’ Compensation and Pre-Existing Conditions
Your workers’ compensation claim can be affected when an old injury is aggravated by a new injury. This issue must be addressed by an attorney who has complete knowledge of how to effectively handle your claim. If you had a pre-existing injury and performed your job without restriction and the injury was then aggravated further by a work accident, you should be eligible to receive benefits as though you were injured for the first time.
As with all workers’ compensation claims, medical documentation is important. A doctor’s examination should show that your prior injury was aggravated by a work-related accident. You do have the right to seek a medical opinion from a doctor of your choosing, as long as he or she is authorized by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board to treat workers’ compensation patients.
What Is a Pre-Existing Condition?
A pre-existing condition is any condition, whether it is an injury or an illness, that a workers’ compensation claimant suffered before his or her work-related injury occurred. Some of the most common pre-existing conditions that job accident attorneys see in workers’ compensation cases include:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Knee injuries
Workers’ compensation claimants may not always be aware of their pre-existing condition before suffering their work-related injury. In some cases, a work-related injury can uncover a latent condition
A Pre-Existing Condition Does Not Necessarily Defeat a Workers’ Compensation Claim
The extent to which a pre-existing condition affects a workers’ compensation claim depends upon how closely the two injuries are related. Pre-existing conditions that are unrelated to the claimant’s work-related injury have little to no impact on his or her claim. For example, assume that a worker suffers from an old knee injury that causes her pain, but does not prevent her from carrying out her duties. If the worker then falls and breaks her arm on the job, the prior knee injury will have little impact on her workers’ compensation claim, as it is unrelated to the work injury. Things get a bit more complicated when the new work-related injury is related to the pre-existing injury. This could occur, for example, where a worker with a herniated disc throws out his back, resulting in a more severe injury than would have resulted had the worker not had a herniated disc. In that scenario, the workers’ compensation program would still cover the injury, but the employer’s workers compensation insurance company likely would fight harder to deny the claim, making the application process more difficult.
What to Do if You Have a Pre-Existing Condition
Take these steps if you suffer a work-related injury that involves a pre-existing condition:
1. Be Honest
A pre-existing condition is not necessarily fatal to a workers’ compensation claim, but lying or otherwise concealing the truth as to the full extent of your medical history can be. Dishonesty at any point during the workers’ compensation claims process can lead to charges of workers’ compensation fraud and a loss of the right to apply for benefits.
2. Be Comprehensive
In medical exams during the workers’ compensation application process, be sure to be specific about how your pre-existing condition affects your life, including your work. If your pre-existing injury causes you only sporadic, minor discomfort, don’t exaggerate it. Providing as much detail as possible to your doctors can help them determine exactly the extent to which your work injury aggravated your pre-existing condition.
3. Be Consistent
Be sure that you always give the same description of your condition. For example, do not tell a doctor that your pain level is a 5 out of 10 while later stating that it is 7 out of 10. Inconsistencies such as these can reduce your workers compensation payout or lead to the denial of your claim.
Contact the Pre-Existing Condition Attorneys at Turley, Redmond and Rosasco
Applying for workers’ compensation benefits with a pre-existing condition is tricky and can often necessitate the assistance of an attorney. For more information about the effects of pre-existing conditions on workers’ compensation claims, please contact the attorneys at Turley, Redmond and Rosasco by using our online form or calling us at 516-745-5666 (Garden City), 631-582-3700 (Ronkonkoma), or 631-399-0400 (Shirley).