Workers’ compensation is the safety net all employees have to ensure they are compensated for any work-related injuries. No matter what kind of injury it is, if it was sustained while you were completing work-related responsibilities, you are eligible for workers’ comp as long as you are an employee. For many workers, this raises the question of whether or not injuries that they already had, but were aggravated while working, are eligible for workers’ comp. The answer to this question will be explored in this short guide.
You may be happy to hear that existing injuries that are made worse by work activities are covered by workers’ comp. If you were forced to have medical treatment done, then you can be compensated for it, as well as any days you missed work. Remember that the aggravation of the injury must have happened as a direct result of doing activities that are related to your work, while being paid to do them. If that is the case, the specifics of the injury do not make any difference. Types of injuries that you can receive workers’ comp for include:
- Action-repetition injuries, such as carpal tunnel
- Mental injuries, such as depression or stress
- Physical injuries, such as broken bones
Hurdles of Claiming Previous Injuries
Despite it being covered, it is sometimes difficult to claim a case of an existing injury becoming worse. This is because you need to prove that it became worse as a result of work-related activities. It is easy to prove that you broke your leg while unloading a truck, but it is harder to prove that your existing leg injury was made tangibly worse because of the strenuous activity of unloading a truck. That being said, it is far from impossible and workers successfully claim these kinds of injuries every day. The first thing you should do after receiving the medical treatment you need is to report the injury and speak with your employer. If it looks like you might have an issue claiming the injury, the next step you should take should be to speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer. It is not possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer, because workers’ comp is the process such an action is supposed to take, so you should not think of it as suing your boss. At first, your lawyer will simply give you advice on how to proceed and explain what your rights are.