It’s pretty standard for injured workers in Carrollton and other parts of Georgia to file a workers’ comp claim. However, sometimes, a majority of these claims are on the grounds of aggravated pre-existing conditions. When this happens, an otherwise simple workers’ compensation claim becomes more technical.
This is because Atlanta employers use the presence of a pre-existing condition as a ground to deny employees their benefits. Employers do this even when the claim comes under compensable injuries in Georgia. This is why you should have a Carrollton worker’s comp attorney representing you. Our lawyers shed light on whether you can get workers’ compensation for a pre-existing condition in this article.
What Is a Pre-Existing Condition?
In Georgia, a pre-existing condition is a medical problem that existed before the work-related injury that is the basis for filing a claim. Under the state laws, the “aggravation of pre-existing conditions due to work-related injuries are covered by the state’s workers’ compensation program.” Generally, the coverage continues as long as the preexisting condition results in disability.
A pre-existing condition can be from a prior work injury to chronic disease. For instance, you can injure your back at work and further strain it while lifting a heavy object. In contrast, a pre-existing condition may not be work-related. An excellent example of this is arthritis. Other known examples are:
- Repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome
- Knee injuries
- Degenerative disk disease
- Previous back or shoulder injuries
- Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
- Soft tissue injuries and nerve damage
- Herniated discs
- Rotator cuff syndrome and tendon injuries
Can You Get Workers’ Comp Benefits for a Pre-Existing Medical Condition?
Going by the provisions of Georgia law, an injured worker with a pre-existing condition is eligible to receive workers’ comp benefits. You could file a claim if your work duties aggravated the wound or other ailment you might have. However, the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation limits the type of claim you can file.
There are three main types of claims injured employees can file if they have a pre-existing condition. They are:
Pre-Existing Conditions Related to a Previous Claim:
You can get compensation if your current work injury aggravates a previous injury that you filed a claim for. However, the board will consider the prior claim when determining what you should get. They will make a distinction between the new injury and the aggravation of the old one. As a result, your employer will pay for the aggravation of your injury and not the wound itself.
Pre-Existing Condition Not Related to a Previous Claim:
If the work-related accident or your job duties aggravated an aging condition or previous wound, you could claim for pre-existing injury. For instance, suppose you suffered a back injury from a car accident over a decade ago. The pain from the wound has almost dissipated, but a strain while lifting a heavy box at work suddenly worsens it; you can get compensation. What’s crucial here is that you have never filed a work comp claim for the injury before or received any work-related benefits.
Unrelated Pre-Existing Condition:
As a third option, you can have a pre-existing condition that is entirely unrelated to your work injury. However, you can still get the total amount of workers’ compensation benefits.
If you have a pre-existing condition and are unsure of your rights, consult with an Atlanta work comp lawyer. Your attorney will help you get the evidence you need to prove the aggravation. In addition, they will advise you on the proper claim to file and help you do it.
What Compensation Can You Get for a Pre-Existing Condition?
When your claim for a pre-existing condition succeeds, you can get the two basic types of work comp benefits. It means you will get compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. The payment will continue for as long as the aggravated condition continues. Once it ends and you return to the pre-aggravated state, the money stops. Furthermore, if you seek permanent total disability benefits, you may only get compensated for the lack of function caused by the aggravation.
Our Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Can Help You!
Dealing with a pre-existing condition claim is not easy as your employer’s insurance carrier will do all they can to intimidate you and get you to quit the process. Alone, they can succeed, but with us, they cannot. Our workers’ comp lawyers at the Law Office of John B. Jackson know all the tricks in the insurance playbook for not paying compensation and will beat them to get you the compensation you deserve. So, waste no time and contact us for a free initial consultation.