The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act provides for Workers’ Compensation benefits for employees who suffer a work-related injury. This no-fault system covers medical expenses, lost wages, and disability for injured workers. This may be true even if the employee has a pre-existing condition. If the pre-existing condition is aggravated or worsened by the work an employee is currently doing, then treatment for that condition must be covered.
The pre-existing condition does not have to be related to the employee’s present occupation. Only the new injury must be work-related. For instance, if you previously injured your back in a slip and fall while shopping, and then while at work aggravated the injury by lifting heavy boxes onto stockroom shelves, you may have a valid claim for Workers’ Compensation. All of your medical treatment should be covered, as well as a portion of your wages lost from being unable to work due to your new injury.
Employers must accept employees as they are, and that includes their physical condition. Some work duties, or even small accidents, that would not affect one person can aggravate and worsen the physical condition of another person. This is particularly true if they have been previously injured and have a pre-existing condition.
Many insurance companies will wrongfully deny a claim for Workers’ Compensation based on a pre-existing condition, hoping the applicant will give up and walk away. Know your rights and enlist the help of an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney who will stand up to insurers on your behalf.
If you have a work-related injury stemming from a pre-existing condition, it is important that you seek medical treatment and have a doctor document the existence of the new injury. Be specific about your pre-existing condition, and the circumstances that aggravated it or caused the new injury.
Be aware that insurance companies looking to deny your claim and avoid paying benefits will investigate your case to see if you were ever untruthful about your pre-existing condition. When you fill out medical forms or are questioned by the doctor who sees you, always be honest about any pre-existing condition you have.
It is important to be clear that the new injury is different from the old one; and explain the type of pain and how often you experience it. If your pre-existing condition was not giving you trouble before your new injury, it will be important to relay that information to your doctor. The more remote you can make your old injury, the better chance you will have for compensation for the new one. An investigation may require you to undergo examinations by more than one doctor. Be sure that you relay the same detailed information about your injuries to each one. A skilled Workers’ Compensation lawyer can help you build a successful case for compensation for your work-related injury.
If you have a pre-existing condition and are worried about your Workers’ Compensation claim being denied, talk to a dedicated Pittsburgh Workers’ Compensation lawyer at AlpernSchubert P.C. We have the knowledge and experience that can make the difference if you have a pre-existing condition. Schedule a free and confidential consultation in our Pittsburgh offices by calling 800-243-6095 or contact us online. From our offices in Pittsburgh, we represent clients throughout Western Pennsylvania, including those in Allegheny County, Lawrence County, and Washington County.
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