You're a hardworking individual, dedicated to your job, earning a living for yourself and your family. But life can throw unexpected curveballs, like a workplace injury.
What if that injury aggravates a pre-existing condition? How does that affect your ability to file a workers' comp claim?"
Understanding Workers' Compensation
Workers' compensation is a system designed to provide financial assistance to employees who suffer injuries or illnesses in the workplace. Its primary purpose is to:
· Cover medical expenses
· Replace lost wages during recovery
· Provide disability benefits for ongoing limitations following treatment
This system operates under the "no-fault" principle, meaning you don't have to prove that your employer was negligent to receive benefits.
What About Pre-Existing Conditions?
A pre-existing condition can affect your workers' comp claim, but it's complicated. Several factors come into play.
· Aggravation vs. Causation: If your work-related incident permanently aggravates or worsens a pre-existing condition, you may still be eligible for workers' compensation benefits.
· Medical Evidence is Key: You'll need documentation from healthcare professionals that outlines the connection between your work-related incident and your pre-existing condition. These reports should detail how the injury affected your pre-existing condition and the extent of the impact.
· Apportionment: Benefits may be apportioned if your pre-existing condition contributed to your injury or disability.
Claims with Pre-Existing Conditions can be Complex
Navigating a workers' compensation claim involving a pre-existing condition can be complex. Here's why:
· Disputes: Insurance companies may argue that your pre-existing condition was the primary cause of your injury. This is where having strong medical evidence and legal representation becomes crucial.
· Extent of Impact: It can be challenging to determine the impact of a work-related injury on a pre-existing condition. A thorough medical examination and expert opinions may be necessary to establish causation.
Process for Injured Workers
If you are injured at work, take the following steps.
· Notify Your Employer: Report the incident in writing to your employer or supervisor as soon as possible. Failure to report your injury within 30 days may jeopardize your ability to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
· Get Medical Care: Request your employer to provide medical attention promptly. This not only ensures your well-being but also creates a crucial medical record that can be used as evidence in your claim.
· Document Everything: Keep meticulous records of your injury, medical treatments, and any conversations or correspondence related to your claim.
· Consult with an Attorney: Workers' compensation laws can be complex, and insurance companies try to minimize their payouts. An experienced workers' comp attorney can help protect your rights and secure the benefits you deserve.
A pre-existing condition can affect your workers' comp claim, but it doesn't necessarily mean your claim will be denied.
At the Law Firm of Webster & Carlton, our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys will help you understand your rights and options under Missouri's workers' compensation laws. We provide the legal representation you need to get the benefits to which you are entitled.
Contact our Missouri workers’ compensation attorneys today for a no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help you.