Cramer and Martinez

Free Consultation408-848-1113

7459 Monterey St., Suite A, Gilroy, CA 95020

Gilroy, CA Attorneys for Workplace Aggravation of Pre-Existing Conditions

Morgan Hill pre-existing condition aggravation lawyer

Lawyers For Workers' Compensation Claims and Appeals in Santa Clara County and Surrounding Areas

If you have a pre-existing medical condition from your previous employment or circumstances unrelated to your work, you might assume that it is futile to pursue workers' compensation benefits from your current employer if your job exacerbates your condition. However, this is not necessarily the case. In California, employees are entitled to workers' compensation for the work-related aggravation of a pre-existing condition.

Workers' compensation cases involving pre-existing conditions are, however, some of the most complicated, and you may find it difficult to achieve a positive outcome on your own. If you encounter obstacles, the experienced attorneys at Cramer & Martinez, LLP can help you overcome them. We have more than 20 years of combined experience, and we know how to work with claims administrators, primary treating physicians, and the California Workers' Compensation Appeals Board to help our clients achieve their desired results.

When is Workers' Compensation Available for a Pre-Existing Condition?

It is important to note that your employer is not responsible for covering your medical care for injuries or health conditions that existed at the time you were hired, or for injuries or conditions that develop due to factors outside of your work. However, they may be responsible if your work aggravates one of these injuries or conditions. California law states that a work-related injury can be considered to aggravate a pre-existing condition if the employee requires new medical treatment or a modification to the current course of treatment as a result, or if the employee is temporarily or permanently disabled to a greater extent than under his or her previous condition.

Pre-Existing Conditions That May Be Susceptible to Aggravation

Any number of pre-existing conditions could be aggravated by your job responsibilities or work environment, but some of the most common include:

  • Degenerative disk disease: Older employees, in particular, may have pre-existing back conditions that have weakened the disks between vertebrae, and heavy lifting or physical exertion could result in further damage in the form of a slipped or herniated disk.
  • Joint conditions: The effects of arthritis, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and other common joint disorders could be worsened by physical activity in the course of an employee's work.
  • Mental health conditions: Some previously diagnosed psychiatric diseases can be aggravated by new events at work. For example, an employee with diagnosed PTSD could undergo a similar, traumatic experience in the course of employment.
  • Asthma and other respiratory diseases: Employees with pre-existing respiratory conditions could suffer further damage if their work continues to expose them to toxins or other harmful materials that can enter the airway.
  • Degenerative hearing or vision loss: While vision and hearing loss commonly occur as people get older, work-related conditions can accelerate the decline, perhaps due to computer eye strain or high levels of environmental noise.
  • Bone and ligament injuries: In some cases, an employee's work could cause him or her to reinjure a broken bone or torn ligament that is recently healed or in the process of healing.

Overcoming Obstacles in the Workers' Compensation Process

If your work aggravates a pre-existing condition, it is important to notify your employer as soon as possible after the aggravating incident, as this can help to demonstrate that you have suffered a new injury rather than simply a continuation of an ongoing condition. Even then, you may find that the claims administrator denies your claim on the basis that your current job is not responsible for your injuries. If this happens, you should work with an attorney to petition for an appeal so that you have the opportunity to present evidence of your current condition and your medical history before a workers' compensation judge with the goal of achieving a settlement or decision in your favor.

If your claim is accepted, workers' compensation benefits should cover any new medical care you require as a result of the aggravated condition, as well as temporary disability payments if your condition prevents you from working at your previous wages while you recover. Achieving permanent disability benefits can be more difficult in these cases, as they will likely only be available if your condition has permanently worsened beyond your limitations under the pre-existing condition.

Contact a Gilroy, CA Workers' Compensation Law Firm

If you are concerned about your ability to receive benefits for a pre-existing condition, contact us as soon as possible so that we can be your ally and advocate throughout the process. We offer a free consultation when you call us at 408-848-1113, and we serve clients in Santa Clara County, San Benito County, Santa Cruz County, Monterey County, Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Salinas, Hollister, Los Banos, Watsonville, San Jose, and the surrounding areas.

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