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The Impact of Pre-Existing Conditions on Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation

Solely Dedicated to Serving the Needs of Injured WorkersWorkers’ Compensation and Aggravation of Conditions and Injuries

Many claimants have pre-existing conditions, and subsequently suffer injury to the same area. In Pennsylvania, the aggravation of a pre-existing condition is treated the same as a new injury in the eyes of the law. Even though this is beneficial to the employee, you still need a Lancaster workplace attorney to make sure the injury is handled properly.

Frequently, pre-existing conditions can be exacerbated at work, such as:

It is important to understand how the law applies to your specific circumstances.

A Pre-Existing Condition Can Impact Your Lancaster Workers’ Compensation Claim

The workers’ compensation program in Pennsylvania is designed to help employees who are injured on the job with medical expenses and wages while they are unable to work. The operative term here is “on the job,” as the workers’ compensation program applies only to injuries that employees suffer in the course of their work duties. But what if a worker suffers what would ordinarily be a minor injury that results in much more severe injury due to the workers’ pre-existing condition? For example, what if an employee is involved in a slip and fall accident that results in debilitating pain due to the worker suffering from a degenerative disc disease?

A pre-existing condition does not bar an injured employee from receiving workers’ compensation benefits, but it can significantly complicate their claim. Generally, the workers’ compensation program will compensate injured employees with pre-existing conditions if the workplace injury aggravates the condition — that is, if it makes the condition worse. This often will require the employee’s medical team to determine, to the most precise extent possible, how much of the employee’s injuries are attributable to the workplace injury and how much are attributable to the underlying condition.

Prior Workplace Injuries Can Prevent You from Receiving Compensation

In some cases, prior workplace injuries can be considered pre-existing conditions. For example, assume that, several years ago, you fell from a ladder at work and injured your knee, for which you are currently receiving permanent partial disability benefits. If you injure the same knee again in another work-related accident that aggravates the prior injury, your workers’ compensation insurance carrier likely will consider the prior injury to be a pre-existing condition. Any benefits you receive for the new injury will thus be offset to account for benefits you received for the previous injury.

Pre-Existing Conditions Not Related to Prior Workplace Injuries

Employees who suffer work-related injuries that aggravate pre-existing conditions not related to prior workplace injuries are also eligible to receive workers’ compensation. To illustrate, assume that you were involved in a car accident outside of work that resulted in permanent injury to your shoulder. You then slip and fall at work, which severely aggravates the pre-existing shoulder injury. You are still eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits for the aggravation of the pre-existing condition even though you incurred the pre-existing condition outside the workplace. So long as the aggravating injury occurred on the job, it may qualify you for workers’ compensation benefits.

Contact a Lancaster Workplace Injury Attorney

Pre-existing conditions create fertile ground for workers’ compensation claim denials, as insurance companies typically argue that the employee’s injuries are solely attributable to the pre-existing condition rather than to the workplace injury. If you suffered a work-related injury that aggravated a pre-existing condition, your workers’ compensation claim likely will involve additional complexities, including a hearing before a workers’ compensation judge. Due to the additional obstacles inherent in these types of claims, you should speak with an experienced Lancaster workplace injury attorney at Vanasse Law by using our online form or calling us at 717-471-2168.

Why Vanasse Law?

See the many reasons Vanasse Law’s dedication, expertise and personal attention makes us THE best choice for injured workers in central Pennsylvania.

Learn More >

Testimonials

“I am so thankful that I was referred to Vanasse Law for my workmans comp claim. Mike & Loraine put me at ease and the outcome was better than I expected…”

More Testimonials >

Get a Free Case Evaluation
Same-Day Response Time

*Required

I have read the disclaimer.
Privacy Policy

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