Filing for workers’ compensation benefits can sometimes be a little complicated, especially since it is often a first-time experience for many. If you have a pre-existing condition, the process can get a little trickier, particularly if the pre-existing condition somehow relates to your claim. If your medical records show that you suffer from a herniated disk and you later injure your back while lifting heavy objects at work, it could be a little more difficult for you to obtain workers’ compensation benefits than it would be for someone without any pre-existing conditions.
What is Considered a Pre-Existing Medical Condition?
Any conditions, whether it be an illness or injury, that you had prior to the workplace accident is considered a pre-existing medical condition. Some obvious examples of pre-existing injuries include herniated disks, broken bones, shoulder or upper body injuries, knee injuries, and torn ligaments. Additionally, pre-existing conditions can also include issues related to your overall mental and physical health, such as anxiety or depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, arthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you have any of these conditions or injuries and sustain another injury or re-injure yourself due to your job duties, and it creates a new need for medical treatment or a change to treatments you are currently receiving, you are still just as entitled to workers’ compensation benefits as anyone else without a pre-existing condition would be. That said, the tricky part is proving that your new injury is related to your job duties.
The Obstacles Involved in Securing Benefits if You Have a Pre-Existing Condition
Keep in mind that insurance companies will always do their best to ensure you do not receive workers’ compensation benefits. They want to keep their premiums low to avoid losing business and, as a result, insurers and employers often work against injured workers. If you have a pre-existing condition, you can bet they will attempt to show that any impairments you have now are only related to your pre-existing condition and are in no way connected to your job or work environment.
In fact, it is not at all uncommon for insurance adjusters to go to great lengths to thoroughly investigate an injured worker’s medical background to find evidence that you are being dishonest about your pre-existing condition. That is why it is crucial never to exaggerate your symptoms or stretch the truth regarding your level of pain. Consistency is critical in ensuring you get the benefits you deserve.
Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Sacramento
If you sustained job-related injuries you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even if you are also suffering from a pre-existing condition. At Smolich & Smolich, our Sacramento workers’ compensation attorneys are committed to assisting injured workers in navigating the claims process to ensure they are able to achieve the favorable resolution they deserve.
For the effective representation you need at this time, call our office at (888) 452-0703 to schedule your free initial case evaluation with an experienced member of our team.