Sometimes, a worker who is injured in a workplace accident has a preexisting condition, which is worsened during the accident. Consider a worker with a broken bone injury who suffers a workplace fall, causing the bone to break further. In a case such as this, will workers’ compensation insurance cover the injury even though the worker was suffering from it prior to the workplace accident?
You cannot receive compensation for an injury that you had prior to your workplace accident. For example, if you had a herniated disc in your back, and then were involved in a workplace accident where your hand was crushed, you cannot recover compensation for your herniated back injury.
However, you can recover compensation for a pre-existing condition in the event that your workplace accident aggravated, exacerbated, or worsened that condition. Consider the example above with the broken arm – if the break was worsened due to the workplace accident, this is considered to be a new injury type, and workers’ compensation insurance is therefore available for it. Essentially, if the workplace accident results in the need for additional care for the pre-existing injury, then it is covered under workers’ compensation insurance. In the example above where a worker with a herniated disc in their back suffers a crush injury of the hand, the worker cannot seek compensation for the herniated disc injury, but can seek compensation for the crush injury. You are only allowed to seek compensation for injuries that are directly related to or caused by your workplace accident.
If you feel as though coverage is being denied for a pre-existing injury that was worsened during a workplace accident, you should contact an attorney, who can help you to prove aggravation of the injury and that you deserve workers’ compensation benefits.