Work-related injuries are covered by workers’ compensation in Chester, South Carolina. You can receive medical benefits to cover your healthcare needs and wage benefits to regain part of your lost income. One of the biggest benefits in workers’ compensation is that workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means that you do not have to prove that someone else was negligent in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits. You only have to prove that the injury is work related. This is where an idiopathic condition can make things more complicated for an injured worker. An idiopathic condition is any kind of injury or illness that arises spontaneously, without an apparent work-related cause. Following are some examples of situations where your work injury may be deemed to be idiopathic in nature and ineligible for benefits:
- Seizures, with or without a known seizure disorder.
- Heart attack, with or without a known heart condition.
- Stroke, with or without a history of strokes.
- Pulmonary conditions that were not caused by your work environment.
- Arthritis that is not caused by your work environment.
- A fainting spell caused by something other than work (such as low blood sugar).
While none of these conditions are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, there are some cases where you may have a valid claim in spite of these conditions. For example, if you have a seizure condition, such as epilepsy, you may have a seizure at work. Whether or not the associated injuries will be covered by workers’ compensation depends on what aspect of the incident caused your injury. If you had a seizure and hit your head on the floor, then this will probably not be covered. The reason is that every environment has a floor or a ground to hit your head on. However, if you had a seizure and struck your head on a machine that you use for work, that is unique to your work environment, then your head injury can probably be covered by workers’ compensation. That isn’t a guarantee that it will be covered, but you do have a leg to stand on and could possibly have the injury covered by workers’ comp.
It is Up to You (and Your Attorney) to Prove that Your Idiopathic Injury is Work Related
As mentioned above, there are some cases where an idiopathic condition could lead to an injury that will still be covered by Chester, South Carolina, workers’ compensation. However, it is likely that the claim will be initially denied as being caused by an idiopathic condition. If this happens, it is not necessarily the end of the road for you. You’ll simply need to contact a Chester, South Carolina, workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your options and whether you might be able to prove that the injury was work related. Every case is different and decided on its own merits. So, while someone else may not be able to get their injury covered, despite being quite similar to your own situation, this does not mean that it is impossible for you to get coverage. It is up to you and your attorney to prove that the injury is work related. In the example of having a seizure and hitting your head on workplace machinery, you will need your attorney to successfully argue that the head injury would not have occurred if the seizure had happened in any other environment. Your attorney will collect evidence and form an argument that will hopefully be successful in proving your eligibility for workers’ compensation coverage. It is not up to your employer to prove that the injury was not work related. It is up to you to prove that it was.
You Can Prove an Increased Risk of Injury to Get Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Approved
Many Chester, South Carolina, workers’ compensation claims that involve an idiopathic condition are decided based on the increased risk of injury in the work environment. For instance, if you have an idiopathic knee condition, and this condition causes you to lose your balance on a stairwell at work, then the existence of the stairs and the need to use them could be considered as an increased risk of injury. If your knee had acted up on the ground level and you fell to the ground, sustaining further injury, then you may not be able to establish that the increased risk of injury was present. Yet, falling from a height or striking a bit of work-related machinery or furniture could be considered to be a work-related hazard that increased your risk of injury despite the presence of your idiopathic condition.
Knee injuries, arthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome are common examples of idiopathic conditions that may be difficult to recover workers’ compensation benefits for. Heart conditions, circulatory conditions, pulmonary conditions, and strokes are other common examples. If you suffer from such a condition that does not involve anything related to work, such as striking your head on the floor, then you are unlikely to be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits for the idiopathic condition. But, if you can establish that your work environment contributed to the injury, then you do have a solid chance of getting coverage for your injuries through workers’ compensation.
In another example, imagine a person who drives for a living, a commercial vehicle driver. That driver suffers from a heart attack while driving, causing an auto accident. Because the auto accident is work related and because the heart attack would not have caused an auto accident if the worker had not been driving, the damages associated with the accident can probably be covered by workers’ compensation. However, any surgeries or other medical intervention to keep you alive after the heart attack may not be covered. Your injuries from the accident, on the other hand, should be.
The Elrod Pope Law Firm Can Help You Get the Workers’ Compensation Benefits You Need For Idiopathic Conditions
If you are encountering resistance in your workers’ compensation claim in Chester, South Carolina, contact the Elrod Pope Law Firm to find out how we can help. We will provide a free consultation, look at the facts of your case, and help you to determine whether or not you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Remember, being denied does not mean you can’t get coverage. It often simply means that you have to take proactive steps to get coverage, and we can help.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.