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Pre-Existing Medical Conditions: How You Can Claim Worker's Compensation Benefits

The worker's compensation program was designed by the government to provide compensation for individuals who are injured or become ill as a result of their career or trade. Worker's compensation benefits operate under a "no-fault" system, meaning that you are entitled to benefits if you can simply prove that you are injured or ill. In 2009 alone, worker's compensation provided benefits to approximately 124.9 million employees. Surprisingly, the benefits also extend to pre-existing medical conditions that start up again or get worse. If the situation applies to you, here's how you can claim the benefits that you rightfully deserve.

Collecting Evidence To Prove Your Case 

If you have a pre-existing injury, then chances are that the injuries may worsen depending on the type of activities that you perform. For example, if you have asthma, your condition may worsen if you work in a field related to chemicals, even if proper safety gear is provided. Or, you may still be recovering from an injury caused by a car accident years ago. If your responsibilities at work are very physically demanding, they could be putting a huge strain on your body.

Regardless of what the situation is, you will need to collect strong evidence in order to prove your case in court. If you are unsure of what type of information should be gathered, speak with a worker's compensation attorney in order to avoid getting your claims rejected by a worker's compensation insurance provider. However, generally, you will be safe if you have the following pieces of documentation or information:

  • medical reports documenting the pre-existing condition, the type of treatments or medications that you have taken to ensure a full recovery, and a medical report from a physician documenting how your current work duties are causing your pre-existing injuries to worsen. It is imperative that you can prove how your current work duties are necessary and are contributing to the worsening of your injuries, as this will be the main point of your case.
  • further calculations regarding the additional medication or medical treatments that are required for a full recovery. 
  • accident details if an accident caused a pre-existing condition to worsen. For example, if you have already previously injured your shoulders from participating in a recreational activity, but you were recently injured at the exact same location, thus worsening the injury, you will need to get a witness statement or an accident report detailing what has happened.

It is crucial that the condition of the injury is explained in detail. Find a doctor who regularly treats injured workers, as they will be more familiar with the entire legal process. It is crucial that the doctor provides information like whether the worsening of the injury is temporary or permanent. If the worsening of a condition is attributable to a new work-related accident or injury, benefits will be paid out. 

Complications That Are Likely To Arise

Collecting evidence may not be enough. Hiring a worker's compensation attorney can really help you get the ball rolling, particularly because there are numerous complications that are likely to arise. The worker's compensation insurance provider may try to prove that:

  • your pre-existing injury is worsening due to natural causes, and has absolutely nothing to do with your work.
  • the injury may have worsened as a result of a non-work related injury.
  • any work-related accidents that have been reported did not contribute to the worsening of the pre-existing injuries.
  • the work-related accidents that have been reported are only partially responsible, and not to the extent that you may be claiming.
  • your pre-existing injuries are not as severe as you may claim.


Hire a worker's compensation attorney to speak on your behalf, and you will find your chances of winning your claim improve greatly. A worker's compensation attorney can provide you with additional insight in regards to how you should approach the situation, the type of compensation that you can expect, and the type of evidence that you will need to bring to court. It is always better to be prepared.