Workers’ Compensation: Aggravation of Pre-Existing Condition
In Pennsylvania, an employee’s workers’ compensation claim will be successful if it is established that there was an injury to an employee, during the course of his or her employment, which resulted in disability or death. Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, an injury can include an aggravation of a pre-existing condition. Therefore, an employee who has a pre-existing condition is not exempt from pursuing workers’ compensation benefits, as long as that pre-existing condition is aggravated, or worsened, by activities at work or their work environment. For example, a work-place incident that causes a re-injury of a previous condition, such as a back strain or a herniated disc, would qualify as an aggravation of a pre-existing condition.
Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, an employer is required to provide medical care and wage loss benefits for the aggravation of a pre-existing condition. An employer is obligated to provide these benefits regardless of whether the pre-existing condition is visible, or whether the employee previously knew about the pre-existing condition.
In addition, a pre-existing condition does not need to be associated with an individual’s employment. For example, a person’s injury from a previous car accident would qualify as a pre-existing condition. What is most important in these situations is that the harm from a previous incident is worsened, or exacerbated, by some type of condition, whether it is an activity or the environment, at an individual’s current place of employment. However, the employee’s new injury must be related to their course of employment in order for there to be a workers’ compensation claim.
Employers, as well as their insurance companies, will often challenge a workers’ compensation claim that revolves around an aggravation of a pre-existing condition by arguing that the current injury is not work-related. Therefore, it is imperative for an injured employee to seek appropriate medical treatment and make sure that the treatment is properly documented. Likewise, it is just as important for an injured employee to provide his or her treating physician, as well as his or her attorney, with as much information as possible about their pre-existing condition and what specific work activities currently aggravated the condition.
If you have experienced an injury that has occurred from an aggravation of a pre-existing condition, you should contact the expert workers’ compensation attorneys at Michael J. O’Conner and Associates at 1-800-518-4529. The first visit is free and our firm is not paid unless we win your case.