Pre-existing conditions can affect eligibility for workers compensation.

Workers’ Compensation and Pre-Existing Conditions: What You Need to Know

In Personal Injury by Greensboro Attorney

Workers’ compensation is something that you hear about all the time. However, you don’t appreciate its value until you face a circumstance when you need to file a claim for. Therefore, staying informed about how this law works is essential so you know what to do and how to protect your rights as an employee, especially when injured on the job. This guide explores what you can do when dealing with pre-existing conditions and how it affects your right to file for a workers’ compensation claim.

Overview of Workers’ Compensation

In case you did not know, workers’ compensation is a legal mandate in many US states. This law requires an employer with three or more employees to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage in place. This covers employees’ medical benefits and financial support when they obtain an injury while performing their work. All employers in North Carolina are subject to this law. 

Therefore, any North Carolina employee has the right to file a claim for workers’ compensation in the event of work-related injuries or illness. You will learn more about many interpretations and clauses surrounding this law here. In particular, what does a pre-existing condition entail when claiming your benefit? And how big an impact will it make in the claims process?

What is a Pre-Existing Condition?

A pre-existing condition is any medical condition or injury that the employee had before starting work for a particular employer in North Carolina. The extent of the medical condition could vary from minor to severe. Thus, these conditions might limit the employee’s ability to maximize the function of certain body parts with or without pain.

It could also be an illness that an employee is diagnosed with before starting employment. Emphasis should be placed on the diagnosis because it means that you’ve consulted a medical professional about your condition, and they can certify that you have a specific condition. 

Here are typical examples of pre-existing conditions that an employee might be diagnosed with or be suffering from:

  • Knee or back injury
  • Joint issues
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Epilepsy

Knowing what a pre-existing condition is is essential because it can pose challenges when filing a workers’ compensation claim. 

Workers compensation covers medical expenses for work-related injuries.

Pre-Existing Conditions & Its Impact on Workers’ Compensation Claims

There are two ways that a pre-existing condition could impact the filing of a workers’ compensation claim. But first, what would constitute the disbursement of the workers’ compensation claim?

First, the employee must demonstrate that they suffered a workplace injury or that their work has contributed to any medical condition they currently have. For example, an employee may have developed a skin disease or mental health disorder resulting from their work environment, or they may have had musculoskeletal disorders due to the nature of their work.

Hazards are common in several types of workplaces. That is why North Carolina law requires employers to obtain workers’ compensation insurance to protect them from work-related injury or sickness. Some work environments are more hazardous than others, but accidents can happen all the time.

Going back to the point above, the employee must demonstrate that they obtained their injury or sickness from work, and it becomes complicated when you factor in a pre-existing condition. Unless the workplace injury or illness is different from their pre-existing condition, it can be difficult for the employee to prove that their condition was due to their work and not something that existed prior to starting their employment.

Another factor that makes it challenging is when the injury or illness did not occur as a single catastrophic event. Instead, the continued exposure to the work environment has put the employee at risk of acquiring those workplace injuries or medical conditions over time. The employee must prove that the workplace injury or condition has resulted from repeated job stress. 

In this case, you need a workers’ compensation lawyer in North Carolina to help you collect evidence and understand the timeline of events. You can seek legal counsel on the type of evidence you need to support your workers’ compensation claim and why your current job contributed to it or worsened a pre-existing condition.

For example, you can file evidence in your workers’ compensation claim that while you have an existing back or knee injury, the nature of your work has aggravated that injury. You must provide records of when the condition started to worsen, thus supporting your claim that your pre-existing condition was exacerbated due to your work stress. 

If, for example, you are granted the workers’ compensation claim, your medical benefits will only cover the period you suffered from the work accident. For example, if your knee injury worsens, you will receive medical treatment for a certain period until such time you are healthy enough to go back to work. It will not provide financial support for ongoing knee pain or injury treatment. Moreover, you will also receive benefits in the form of financial support to compensate you for any days you could not work due to your workplace injury.

Work-related accident workers compensation claim.  

Why Work with a Greensboro Attorney Specializing in Workers’ Compensation?

When it comes to legal matters, such as claiming workers’ compensation and other benefits, there are several nuances that most people are unaware of. Therefore, you should work with an attorney to be educated about those nuances so you can understand how to protect and fight for your rights.

Your attorney is well-versed in this legal area if they specialize in workers’ compensation and similar practice areas. They can act on your behalf and provide you with the most relevant legal advice that would benefit your pursuance of a claim. 

When hiring an attorney, note that it isn’t an adversarial action against your employee. Do not feel as though you are antagonizing them; instead, you seek an attorney’s help to ensure you can enjoy all the benefits you deserve that would apply to your specific circumstances.