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Workers’ Compensation And a Pre-Existing Condition

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Date11 Dec 2018
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Workers Compensation Attorney Arlington, VA

When your job causes your injury, many people have the assurance of workers’ compensation to help them with their medical bills and to give them some type of steady paycheck until they can return to work. However, things begin getting murky when you have a new workplace injury and if you have a pre-existing injury or illness. This can make your workers’ compensation claim significantly more complicated. In fact, if you have a pre-existing illness or injury, it can affect not just how long it takes for your claim to get processes, but also how much you receive in terms of benefits. This is especially true if your new injury is in the same area as your pre-existing condition. For example, there might be an impact on your benefits if you had arthritis in your left hand and you work at a computer company full time where you type all day and suddenly develop carpal tunnel in your left wrist.

What If Your Pre-Existing Condition Is Related to a Prior Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Another way things can become tricky is if you have already injured a certain body part in a previous work-related accident. When this happens, you will likely see a reduction in your benefits to account for your previous compensation claim. That said, your employer’s insurance company must still pay for your injury-related medical bills and treatment costs for your new on-the-job injury.

Additionally, this will also affect the permanent disability benefits you can receive for your work-related injury. Instead of getting a new lump sum for your impairment, the insurance company will likely only give you the difference of what your estimated total is. As an example, if the insurance company valued your previous work-related injury at $10,000, but your new work-related injury is valued at $15,000, they will not give you a permanent impairment award of the additional $15,000. Your new workers’ compensation claim will likely be the difference of $5,000.

What Should You Do If You Are In This Situation?

The best thing you can do is be candid with your doctor. It will not help to claim your previous work-related injury aggravation is an entirely new work-related injury. It is also imperative to provide your doctor with your previous medical records that show you first workers’ compensation claim. When filing for workers’ compensation, your doctor can be a huge asset in determining whether this is a new work-related injury or an aggravation of a previous one.

Pre-Existing Condition, Unrelated

If your pre-existing condition is unrelated to your new workplace injury, it likely will have little to no bearing on your new claim. If all goes smoothly with your claim, your employer will likely pay for the medical costs associated with your new injury and your regular health insurance will continue to pay for treating your previous injury.

How Can I Get Started?

Workers’ compensation claims can get tricky and confusing quickly. Especially if you have already suffered from a previous work-related injury, having a workers compensation attorney Arlington, VA offers at Cohen & Cohen, PC on your side can help you determine the best steps for making your claim.

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