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If you’ve been injured at work, you shouldn’t hesitate to report the injury, even if you have been injured before. Pre-existing conditions do not negate an employer’s obligation to provide paid time off and medical treatment, although they do make things more complex. Navigating the tricky scenario of filing a workers’ compensation claim with a pre-existing condition is much easier with the help of a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney.

Overview of Pre-Existing Condition

Even if you’ve been injured before, if your on-the-job injury makes that prior injury worse, it comes under the workers’ compensation category. For instance, you suffer knee strain after a fall in 2022 at home, but in 2023, you are injured by a fall at work that was due to faulty equipment, and you wind up in the emergency room with a badly sprained knee. That’s a legitimate workers’ comp injury. 

Workers’ compensation law deals with how a person who is injured while on the job can be compensated for lost work time and get adequate medical care. As soon as the injury occurs, you should let your employer know what happened so they can get the claim set up. Missing more than seven work days due to the injury is categorized as compensable under workers’ compensation laws.

Employers often try to claim an injury is not valid if there is a pre-existing condition, and sometimes, they succeed in getting a claim denied. They don’t always win, though, in that scenario because claims can be appealed.

Understanding Pre-Existing Conditions 

It’s important to understand pre-existing conditions and how they can affect your employers. Your employer cannot exclude you from hiring due to a pre-existing condition. For example, if you’ve ever suffered from back strain you know that having weakness along your spinal column makes you susceptible to more severe back pain. However, if you are tasked with lifting a heavy box and moving it, and that aggravates your back condition and leaves you in great pain, you may need rest, physical therapy, and possibly a painkiller prescription. Soft tissue injuries to the back, knee, and shoulder, are very common, and lifting, pulling, and pushing can aggravate them. 

Pre-existing conditions may also be chronic illness (diabetes, for example) or psychological conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Arthritis can be very limiting, depending on its severity.

Denial of Your Claim

When you get medical treatment and have to give a history on the first visit, it will likely be noted that you have a pre-existing condition. That becomes part of your medical record. 

Your employer’s insurance company is entitled to see your treatment records, and oftentimes your workers’ compensation benefits will be cut off prematurely, or the claim may even be denied if there is a pre-existing condition.

Get Expert Advice From an Atlanta and Savannah Workers’ Comp Attorney

A good attorney, such as Parsons Law Group, will know how to combat the arguments made by insurance companies and employers so you can get the benefits you need to fully recover. If you find yourself in need of representation, give us a call.