Sometimes an injury is clearly the result of a workplace accident. If you fell off a ladder and broke your leg, for instance, the cause and effect are obvious. But what happens when you already had a health condition or injury when you started your job? And what if your current job seems to have made that condition worse? Can you get workers' compensation benefits?
Here at the Law Offices of Hussain & Gutierrez, we understand your questions and concerns. Our Van Nuys lawyers have represented many people like you who have pre-existing conditions. With a wealth of experience — including prior experience as a workers' comp judge and an insurance adjuster — our attorneys can provide the answers you need.
Here are a few basic points to note:
- Yes, it is possible to get workers' compensation benefits for pre-existing conditions. Not everyone qualifies, but some people do. You should never assume that you're not eligible for money just because the underlying problem already existed before you were hired.
- To qualify, your current job must have "aggravated" the pre-existing condition. California law considers this to essentially be a new injury and deserving of benefits. An "aggravation" means that your job made your old injury worse, forcing you to get new or different medical treatment.
- A "flare-up" doesn't count as an "aggravation." If the symptoms of your pre-existing condition come and go, and they happen to come while you're at work, you won't qualify for workers' compensation.
Let's Look At An Example
Here's an example to help make sense of it all:
You had pain in your left knee before you were hired, but it never interfered too much with your work. Then, while loading boxes, you twisted the wrong way and tore a ligament in that same knee. The doctor says you need surgery to repair it.
Even though you already had pain in that knee, your workplace accident made it much worse, and you require new medical care. For these reasons, you will likely qualify for workers' compensation benefits.
For Specific Legal Advice, Talk To Our Lawyers For Free
We invite you to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your particular situation. Simply call us at 818-997-3700 or toll free at 888-997-3701, or contact us online.
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