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Determining Whether a Work Injury Aggravated a Pre-Existing Condition

 Posted on December 14,2021 in Workers' Compensation

gilroy workers comp lawyerThere are many ways a person may be injured in the workplace or because of work-related activities and tasks. While workers’ compensation covers situations where employees are injured while working, there are some cases where workers and employers may disagree about whether an injury was work-related. These disagreements often address pre-existing conditions, and an employer may claim that an employee’s injury was solely the result of a non-work-related illness or health condition rather than the work the person performed or the conditions in the workplace. However, workers’ comp benefits are available in cases where a work injury resulted in the aggravation of a pre-existing condition. Workers with pre-existing conditions will want to understand how the California Department of Workers’ Compensation decides whether work-related factors aggravated their injuries or health issues.

Workers’ Comp Benefits for New Injuries or Illnesses

In general, workers’ compensation covers new injuries that occurred due to workplace accidents, conditions that affect a person while working, or work-related activities that a person engages in. An injury may be considered an aggravation of a pre-existing condition if a worker experienced a temporary or permanent increase in disability or required new medical treatment or changes in the medical treatment that they had been receiving. However, there are some situations where a recurrence of a previous injury or health condition may be considered an “exacerbation” rather than a new injury. 

To determine whether a pre-existing injury or illness was aggravated by a work-related injury, the Department of Workers’ Compensation may consider:

  • Whether a person with a pre-existing condition experienced a loss of consciousness that would not have occurred if the person had not been involved in a workplace accident or exposed to conditions in the workplace

  • Whether medical treatment related to a workplace event or exposure to certain conditions was received when this treatment would not have been needed to address a person’s pre-existing condition

  • Whether a change in medical treatment for a pre-existing injury or illness was required due to a workplace injury

  • Whether a person missed at least one day of work, was limited to restricted work, or was required to transfer to a different position due to a workplace accident or injury

  • Whether a person with a pre-existing condition who suffered a fatal injury or illness would most likely not have died if they had not been involved in a workplace accident or experienced a work-related injury or illness

Contact Our Hollister Workers’ Comp Lawyers for Pre-Existing Conditions

Workers’ compensation claims related to pre-existing conditions can be complicated. If you have suffered an injury that aggravated a previous injury or illness, or if your employer has denied a claim because you have a pre-existing condition, Cramer + Martinez can help you determine your legal options. We will work with you to make sure you receive the benefits you deserve. Contact our Morgan Hill workers’ compensation claim attorneys at 408-848-1113 to schedule a free consultation today.


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