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Did Your Job Worsen a Pre-Existing Medical Condition? You May be Entitled to Workers’ Compensation

 Posted on May 12,2021 in Workers' Compensation

santa clara workers compensation lawyerMost people struggle with one or more medical conditions at some point in their lives. Whether you have an old sports injury, a degenerative disease, or hearing or vision problems, managing the condition’s symptoms may be a constant struggle. So what happens when work tasks aggravate an existing medical concern? Is the injured worker entitled to financial compensation through workers’ compensation? Is the worker barred from financial recovery because he or she had the condition before being hired?

California Workers’ Compensation Typically Covers Aggravation of Pre-Existing Conditions

Many people assume that they cannot get workers’ compensation for a medical issue that existed before starting their job. Fortunately, California workers’ compensation does cover situations in which a person’s job worsens a pre-existing medical problem. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to get the compensation you need for a pre-existing condition. To get reimbursement for medical bills and lost wages through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer, you must prove that:

  • Your medical condition was aggravated or worsened by your job duties

  • The aggravation occurred on the clock

  • You require medical attention or must miss work to recover from the aggravated medical condition

California law treats the aggravation of pre-existing conditions as a separate injury for the purposes of workers’ compensation. To recover financial compensation, you must show that at least one of the following is true:

  • The injury augmented your disability

  • The injury created a need for additional medical care

  • The injury required a new treatment plan

Obstacles Involved in Workers’ Compensation Claims for Pre-existing Conditions

California law makes a distinction between “exacerbations” or flare-ups and “aggravations” or worsened medical conditions. If you experience a flare-up of symptoms, this may not be considered an aggravation. Another potential obstacle during your workers’ compensation claim is that the insurance company will deny that the aggravation was work-related. For example, if you suffer from degenerative disc disease and you hurt your back lifting objects at work, the insurance company may claim that the back injury occurred while you were at home. The insurance company may also offer a settlement that does not adequately cover your injury-related expenses or requires you to return to work too soon.

Contact a Santa Clara County Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If your job worsened your pre-existing medical condition, you may be entitled to financial compensation under California’s workers’ compensation laws. You could be compensated for your medical expenses and part of your lost wages. However, you may encounter difficulties and delays during the workers’ compensation claim process. For help, contact a Morgan Hill workers’ compensation lawyer at Cramer & Martinez, LLP. Call 408-848-1113 for a free consultation.


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