If you are injured while on the job, workers compensation benefits will most likely cover the cost of your medical expenses or help provide lost wages while you are recovering and unable to work. However, what if you have a pre-existing condition and your job has made it even worse? You may be wondering if you can receive benefits for that as well and as a general rule, in most states the answer is no. Many states only claim that you can use workers compensation benefits on injuries that occurred by accident in the workplace, as Nassau County workers compensation attorneys can explain. Injury by accident is defined as a specific event that has caused mechanical or physical change to the body. The mechanical change definition varies and can be anything from bruising to a broken bone or torn muscle. But, some states have laws that if an injury that was sustained at your workplace aggravated, exacerbated or accelerated your pre-existing condition (like carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis), you can very well be entitled to workers compensation benefits. If you have worked in any form of physical job your entire life, gotten into any car accidents, are over 40, or had any surgeries, you will likely have some form of degenerative joint disease like arthritis. If you are taken to court over your claim, you can appeal to a judge by explaining this.
Under many states laws, workers compensation has no clear distinction between employees who are completely healthy when hired and employees who have pre-existing conditions upon hiring. Your employer must accept your condition if they choose to hire you. If you are injured while on the job, your employer is not allowed to legally avoid liability because you have a pre-existing condition. Worsening or aggravation to your preexisting condition is covered under workers compensation if it is the direct result of an injury sustained at your workplace. However, worsening that is caused by repetitive motion is not covered under workers compensation. For example, many carpentry and plumbing workers have to have back surgery because of the toll of their jobs. If they return to work after their surgery, but suffer a new injury by accident while lifting heavy materials or because they fall from a ladder, they are entitled to receiving workers comp benefits if the new injury aggravates their old condition.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, P.C. for their insight into