Can you get workers’ comp for a pre-existing injury?

It is possible to receive workers’ compensation if you have a pre-existing injury but get hurt at work. You can obtain compensation for the worsened condition due to the accident at work. For example, if you have a pre-existing back condition and suffer an injury that aggravates the condition,  you may be able to obtain compensation for the worsening of the condition.

To navigate workers’ compensation claims involving the aggravation of a pre-existing condition, contact our Greenville workers’ compensation lawyer. Allow our attorneys to navigate the legal system to help you obtain the benefits to which you are entitled.

What key factors play a role in obtaining workers’ compensation for a pre-existing injury?

Determining whether you can get workers’ comp for a pre-existing injury depends on your ability to prove that the injury worsened the prior condition. To do that, your attorney must show, through evidence, that the accident caused an aggravation or worsening of the pre-existing condition.

You may need to inform your employer about the pre-existing injury or condition when hired, depending on whether they ask in an application or interview if you have any current health issues.  If you do not disclose the condition when asked at the time of hiring, it can bar you from obtaining benefits if injured at work.

Laws in South Carolina do not punish workers for their prior conditions. They can obtain a job and work to meet the employer’s requirements. Like any other employee, if they suffer an injury on the job, they have the right to seek compensation.

What are common types of pre-existing conditions?

Pre-existing conditions range widely. Some examples of them include:

  • Degenerative disc disease  (back/spine)
  • Degenerative joint disease (shoulder, knees, etc.)
  • Arthritis
  • Depression/Anxiety

A person with any of these conditions may still be able to work. They may still be able to meet the expectations of the job. If they get hurt on the job, and a pre-existing condition is, in some way, impacted, the worker may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

How do you navigate your right to compensation in these cases?

You can get workers’ comp for the aggravation or worsening of a pre-existing injury. For example, if an employee suffers from a back condition due to a car accident that they were in, they can still receive compensation for a subsequent work-related injury that impacts their back.  For example, a worker may be injured from lifting something heavy at work or from falling at work.  They can file a workers’ compensation claim for the accident even if it affects a prior condition.

A good example of this occurs with a degenerative and worsening condition like arthritis. A worker with arthritis in their knee may see the condition worsen after a fall at work. In this situation, the employee may be unable to return to work because of the injury or may be limited in what they can do at work.  The existence of prior arthritis does not prevent the worker from seeking compensation if the accident worsened the condition or made it symptomatic.

Why is working with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney critical?

The complexity of the aggravation of a pre-existing injury in workers’ compensation claims makes it imperative for a person to work with a trusted, experienced attorney to manage their claim. Your pre-existing condition does not eliminate your ability to file a claim, but it may take a skilled attorney to help you get the benefits you are entitled to.  Call Smith Jordan Law now to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case at (864) 343-2222.

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