Workers’ compensation exists to provide financial support and medical care to workers who are hurt on the job. But what if you are dealing with a WEAR and TEAR injury that existed before you started the job? Can you get workers’ comp coverage for that? The answer may be yes.
Plenty of workers have pre-existing injuries, including previously broken bones, torn ligaments, herniated disks, and age-related conditions like arthritis or spinal degeneration. Workers may also have pre-existing WEAR and TEAR injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome.
It is not unusual for workers’ comp insurance to wrongfully deny a worker’s claim because that worker has a pre-existing condition. If this happens to you, don’t just give up. Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer because you may still be entitled to workers’ comp benefits.
Workers’ Comp for Pre-Existing Injuries
In general, workers’ comp must provide benefits for workers with pre-existing conditions if the work-related injury is an aggravation of that pre-existing injury or condition. However, you can not get workers’ comp benefits for your pre-existing injury alone. You must have sustained a new injury that has aggravated your pre-existing one in order to qualify.
Let’s look at an example. Say you are a delivery driver who has a pre-existing back injury, but you have received treatment, recovered, and are feeling okay. You have been going about your life, free of back pain, for a couple of years.
Now you are on the job loading boxes into a truck one morning when you hurt your back, and the old pain flares up. You have re-injured your back. So even though your prior back injury may have made you more vulnerable to damage the second time around, the act of loading boxes for your employer’s benefit is what caused your new injury.
The “But For” Rule
Workers’ compensation lawyers typically use the “but for” rule when determining whether an aggravation of a pre-existing injury qualifies for workers’ comp benefits. The “but for” rule states that a pre-existing injury would not have been aggravated, flared up, or re-manifested itself but for the performance of some work-related duties.
In the example above, you would not have hurt your back but for the act of loading boxes, so you would be entitled to workers’ comp benefits.
Experienced Wear and Tear Attorneys Can Help
If you have experienced a flare up or aggravation of an old injury due to work-related duties, you may have a valid workers’ comp claim. If you or a loved one have been injured at work, and would like to receive more information on workers’ compensation settlements, wage loss, workplace injuries, wage claims, and how to receive workers’ compensation benefits, let us help. Call an attorney now to learn more.
Contact the workers’ compensation attorneys at Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo as soon as possible at (609) 677-1700, or fill out the form online to schedule your free consultation. We can answer your questions and determine the most efficient way to proceed in order to help you and your family obtain the compensation that you deserve.