Pre-Existing Conditions

Dedicated Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Serving Atlanta Residents

Harm in the workplace may take many forms. While some individuals may experience a sudden or acute injury as a result of a fall or malfunctioning equipment, others may find that the stressors or circumstances of the job aggravate an earlier medical issue in a way that results in new, debilitating effects. Although claims based on the aggravation of a pre-existing condition can be more complicated, employees still can pursue benefits for these injuries. At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates, our workers’ compensation lawyers have over 50 years of collective experience representing people in Atlanta and beyond who have been hurt on the job. We understand the strategies that insurance companies use to deny claims based on pre-existing conditions and will work to help you seek the money you deserve.

Understanding Pre-Existing Conditions

Pre-existing conditions are medical problems that existed prior to your most recent work-related injury. They may be chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, that arose from conditions unrelated to work but make a worker susceptible to certain types of job-related harm. In other situations, a pre-existing condition may be an ongoing repetitive stress or traumatic injury that is subject to becoming irritated or inflamed because of work activities. For instance, a worker may battle carpal tunnel syndrome, degenerative disk problems, or joint conditions due to arthritis. While these health concerns may have existed prior to a person obtaining his or her current position, they are subject to aggravation or worsening due to the challenges of a job environment. Finally, pre-existing conditions can also include injuries that a worker previously incurred at the same place of employment. Thus, for instance, if an individual tore a ligament in his or her knee while moving boxes at work and, several months later, reinjured the knee while on the job, this may constitute grounds for benefits.

Filing a Claim for Benefits

Although pre-existing conditions can make it more complicated to bring a workers’ compensation claim, many employees successfully assert them every year. Under current Georgia law, compensable injuries include “the aggravation of a preexisting condition” when it is the cause of the disability. This means that if you can establish a new injury or pain as a result of this aggravation, your employer can be required to compensate you for medical bills related to it. This is because companies are required to take their workers “as they are.” Accordingly, an employer cannot refuse to treat an employee because of a known or unknown prior condition. If a company hires a woman who has osteoporosis and breaks a bone after a small slip and fall, for example, it cannot refuse to pay her benefits because of her prior condition, whether or not it was aware of the osteoporosis.

Unfortunately, however, employers throughout Georgia may try to deny workers’ compensation claims based on pre-existing conditions. This is why it is extremely important to obtain the help of an experienced and knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney. You will need to obtain accurate and thorough evaluations from your doctor to establish your claim for benefits, and your lawyer can help work with your doctor to document the ways in which your new injury has aggravated your underlying condition. A physician will also be able to evaluate and record whether the worsening of your pre-existing condition has resulted in permanently disabling effects, which will affect the prospects of any permanent disability claim that you eventually may try to establish.

Discuss Your Work Injury Case with an Atlanta Lawyer

Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be a daunting task, and is especially difficult while you and your loved ones are also dealing with the ongoing medical issues that form the basis for your benefits. The last thing you should do is face the complexities of this situation by yourself. At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates, our work injury attorneys understand how to present a claim for an Atlanta employee and will fight back against the efforts of employers and insurance companies to deny what is rightfully yours. If you live near Marietta, Decatur, Lawrenceville, or other communities in Fulton, Cobb, DeKalb, Gwinnett, or Clayton Counties, our office is available to immediately assist you. For more information or to schedule an initial consultation, contact us online, by phone at (770) 865-8654 and (813) 363-6664, or by email at juliericelaw@outlook.com.