How a Pre-Existing Condition Affects Your Workers’ Compensation Claim

If your workers’ compensation claim is denied because of a pre-existing condition, seek the help of a Kansas City workers’ compensation attorney.

preexisting-conditionsYou may hear a lot about the importance of pre-existing conditions during health care coverage debates. These are medical conditions or illnesses that you have been previously diagnosed with and treated for.

When a pre-existing condition is brought up in a workers’ compensation claim, it is usually because an accident or repetitive motion related to the job has exacerbated the condition. It is fairly common for this to happen in the workplace, particularly with a prior back injury. If your claim for compensation has been suspended by your employer who is claiming the injury was a pre-existing one, contact a Kansas City workers’ compensation attorney immediately. This is a common defense ploy that an experienced lawyer should be able to rebut.

Filing an Appeal

Workers’ compensation is supposed to cover the medical care needed when a prior injury is aggravated by a new work-related one. If your employer denies the claim, then your next course of action will have to be to file an appeal. During the appeal hearing, you will need expert medical opinions that support your claim of aggravation to injury and who can provide a plausible reason how your job is responsible for it. In addition, they will have to show how much of the injury is directly related to your employment. Since this hearing allows for cross-examination of these witnesses, you will want to hire a Kansas City workers’ compensation attorney that has experience in this area of expertise and can help you present your evidence in a compelling manner.

Presenting Compelling Evidence

Back injuries are one of the most often disputed claims in workers’ compensation cases. Employers will argue that the medical care the injured employee needs far exceeds the extent of the injury that occurred at work. Take, for example, the case of a St. Louis woman who had herniated her disc years prior to her workplace accident. While the initial injury allowed her to live a normal life with pain relief medications, the doctors treating the new injury were convinced that only surgery would help remedy the woman’s pain. Her employer refused payment for the surgery, feeling that the original injury had more of an impact on her pain than the one that came from the work she was doing for them. The appeals court sided with the employee and awarded her the $170,000 that she had accrued in medical care and lost wages.

Accidents at work are not the only cause of aggravation to a pre-existing condition. Repetitive motion injuries, such as lifting heavy boxes or using a scan gun, can often trigger old back injuries and even carpal tunnels syndrome or arthritis. It is important to bring your work history to the attention of your physician if you are suddenly experiencing painful symptoms from an old injury.

Where to Find Help

An injured employee should never have to file an appeal for their compensation on their own. A knowledgeable Kansas City workers’ compensation attorney knows how to best present your case to the review board in order to make sure that not only is your medical expenses taken care of, but that you are paid for lost time at work as well. Call The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (816) 399-3706 for a free consultation.

Photo credit: liz west via Flickr

Updated: August 20, 2021

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