Many workers know that if they are injured or become ill while on the job, they may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. However, they may not be aware of how a pre-existing condition could affect those benefits.
Workers’ compensation process
It’s important to notify your employer about the injury or illness as soon as possible and in writing, usually within 30 days of the incident. The report should include the date, time, and location of the incident as well as a description of your injuries. It may be necessary to include medical records or other documentation to support the workers’ compensation claim.
The workers’ compensation board will determine whether you are eligible for benefits, including wages and medical care. Your healthcare provider will decide when you can return to work and whether you will have any work restrictions.
If you have a pre-existing condition, you are not automatically disqualified from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. The workers’ compensation board may review whether your work-related injury or illness made your pre-existing condition worse. If it did, you may be eligible for benefits.
You will need to establish a connection between the work-related incident and the worsening condition. In some situations, you may receive a portion of benefits related to the work injury or illness and a portion of benefits may be excluded.
There are several injuries that can worsen a pre-existing condition including repetitive stress injuries, slips and falls, traumatic injuries, exposure to toxic chemicals and stress related conditions like heart problems, anxiety, or mental health concerns.